Sexual decline is common as men get older, but there are ways to reduce your risk of developing the condition. Here are some ways you can defend yourself against sexual decline.
Last Updated: 12/13/2022
Age-related sexual decline is really common. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that the condition affects 52% of men aged 40-70 years old. But just because a lot of older guys suffer from the condition, doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it.
In fact, there are ways to get your mojo back and be the best you can be in the bedroom. Let’s dive into some of the most effective ways to defend yourself against sexual decline.
Exercise is one of the best ways to defend against sexual aging. Lack of exercise is one of the most important reversible risk factors for sexual decline, while increasing physical activity improves sexual function.1 The most effective type of exercise for sexual health is aerobic exercise with moderate-to-vigorous intensity. Exercise can also help you drop those extra pounds, which also leads to benefits in the bedroom.
Two types of eating patterns are especially good for sexual health. One of them is the Mediterranean diet. People on this type of diet eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, fish, and a limited amount of lean white meat while avoiding sweets.
In type 2 diabetic men, those who ate a Mediterranean diet had the lowest prevalence of sexual decline and were more likely to be sexually active.2 In other clinical trials, a Mediterranean diet was better than a control diet in reducing sexual decline in people with obesity or metabolic syndrome.2
Sometimes, it’s not about what you eat, but when you eat it. This is the concept behind intermittent fasting. In the most common type of intermittent fasting, a person will eat only during a four to six-hour window during the day. One study found that patients who were eating an organic diet or participating in intermittent fasting were significantly less likely to have sexual decline compared to men who ate low-carb, high-protein, low-fat, or vegetarian diets.3
It’s difficult to get in the mood for sex when you’re stressed about work, family matters, or other worries. Some research indicates that practicing stress management techniques may improve sexual function.4
We can never get away from stress completely, but we can learn to cope with it. Strategies like meditation, exercise, and yoga, or even sipping a calming cup of tea, can all make you more resilient to stress.
Testosterone is a hormone important for libido and sex drive. As men age, testosterone levels usually drop.5 This causes low sex drive and other physical changes in the body that aren’t good for sexual health. For example, low testosterone can lead to scarring in the veins that lead to the penis.
Low testosterone is also common in men who have diabetes. About 25% to 50% of men with diabetes have low testosterone.6
Men who are overweight also often have testosterone deficiency. It becomes a vicious cycle since men who have low testosterone are more likely to have more fat mass, especially around the belly.7
Your doctor can test for low testosterone and then begin testosterone replacement therapy if necessary. Lifestyle factors like exercise, diet, and losing weight can also boost testosterone.
Talk to your doctor about a type of therapy known as acoustic sound wave therapy, otherwise called low-intensity extracorporeal sound wave therapy (Li-ESWT). It can be done in a doctor’s office (treatments are pricey), or you can try a similar at-home option that’s more affordable and convenient. Combined with the other strategies mentioned above, Li-ESWT can help defend against sexual decline.