You’ve got a headache, you’re tired, you’re washing your hair – many of us come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid having sex, but we could be missing a trick and passing up a great anti-ager. According to scientists, regular sex could have some serious health benefits. Couples that have sex at least three times a week look more than 10 years younger than the average adult – who makes love less than twice a week.
The youth-boosting benefits come from the production of happy hormones, which are released during sex. In women, regular sex helps to stimulate a human growth hormone known to slow the ageing process. Not only that, but sex helps to keep you fit and it improves your body confidence.
Sometimes it hard to feel ‘in the mood’ though so if your sex drive is on the wane, try these tips to give your libido a little nudge in the right direction and watch those wrinkles fade.
Feel sexy over 50
If you’re not feeling confident about your own body it can be hard to feel comfortable when you’re showing it off to someone else. The first step to body confidence is to look after yourself. Eat healthily and get regular exercise to help you tone up and lose weight if you need to. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and use a body brush to help improve the appearance of cellulite and to keep your skin smooth. Moisturise your skin regularly too so that it feels soft and sexy.
Work on your foreplay to boost your libido
Not only is cuddling and caressing your partner a great way to feel closer, but it might help to put you in the mood. “If you want an extra libido boost try using your index or middle finger to apply firm pressure to the acupressure point located on the inside of your ankle, four finger widths above your ankle bone,” says Julie Peasgood author of The Greatest Sex Tips in the World (£8.99, www.thegreatestintheworld.com). “Press for a few seconds, then release and keep repeating for a minute.”
It might sound odd – but banning love making could actually make you more interested in it. Not only does it take away the pressure to have sex, but it could also make you look for other ways to feel close and intimate. Spend time talking and connecting in other ways instead. Go dancing together, watch a romantic film or go out for dinner and drinks. You may find the spark is reignited.
Boost your libido with food
Perk up your sex drive by eating foods rich in Zinc. “Red meat, eggs, oysters, wheatgerm, pumpkin seeds and peanuts all contain Zinc which could help to increase your testosterone levels – which is crucial for sex drive in both men and women,” says Julie.
Combat vaginal dryness from menopause
“Post menopause your oestrogen levels drop and this can have an effect on your love making,” says Julie. “Your vagina becomes shorter, narrower, and less elastic, vaginal lubrication takes longer to be produced and you could also become more susceptible to urinary tract infections, which all make sex more uncomfortable.” To make things easier spend time talking and cuddling with your partner so that you’re relaxed and at ease. You could also try a lubricant such as Vielle Lubricant (£3.99/50ml) available from Boots.
Work out what turns you on
If you’re single, or even if you’re in a relationship, spend some time working out what turns you on. If sex isn’t pleasurable then you won’t want to waste time doing it – no matter how many wrinkles it might reduce. The biggest anti-ageing benefits come from the most satisfying sex. “You’re never too old to use sex toys,” says Julie. “And you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it – they’re much more accessible nowadays. You can even pick them up when you do your weekly grocery shop.” Look for the discreet Durex Play range in most leading supermarkets.
Get him checked for erectile dysfunction
Although they don’t like to admit it, men sometimes need help in the bedroom too.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is very common and your partner shouldn’t be embarrassed. Make sure you include a lot of foreplay in your love-making and get him to look at his lifestyle too, because smoking and heavy drinking won’t help. If it’s a reoccurring problem make an appointment with your GP who may be able to help. It’s important to get checked because ED can be a sign of other health problems such as heart disease.
Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases
Don’t forget to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) if you’re with a new partner. Pregnancy might not be a worry anymore, but in under a decade rates of STIs have doubled in people over 45. Left untreated some STIs could lead to more serious health problems such as heart disease and brain damage. They can be hard to spot because many of them are symptomless. If you’ve thrown caution to the wind in the past visit your local GUM clinic to get tested. Log on to www.fpa.org.uk/finder to find your nearest one, or speak to your GP.