Increasing Your Sex Drive as You Age

06/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Menopause has a terrible reputation, and for good reason. Many women experience a loss of sexual desire and/or the ability to achieve orgasm as they age. One reason is scientifically linked to a waning production of the hormone progesterone, which is instrumental to relaxation. This is just one of the many reasons why I believe that the most important organ for having great sex is the brain: if you can't relax and turn off your brain, how will you be able to turn yourself on?

Just this week I was featured on The Doctor's Show, where I helped a 47-year-old woman jump start her sex life. Maryann's hormone levels were very low, and her blood circulation in her pelvic region was diminished. Both of these factors lessened her ability to orgasm. However, none of this was her fault. Her brain had just become chemically unbalanced, and her body was getting older than her actual age.

In just one month, I was able to teach Maryann how to re-balance her aging brain by improving her diet and increasing her hormone levels naturally. Ultimately, she was able to finally have the younger, sexually active body and passionate mind that she always wanted. In fact, Maryann reported that she was enjoying sex more now that she was older than she ever did before.

Maryann's story applies to both men and women. It's never too late to improve your sex life, because an aging body and an aging brain can be reversed to a younger, more vibrant state. For all of us, sex can be decoded into four distinct phases, and each is directly correlated to one of the four primary brain chemicals, and the hormones associated with them:

• Desire and libido is created in the brain by dopamine; when you are low on dopamine your energy for and interest in sex wanes, as well as your performance

• Arousal is initiated by acetylcholine; when cognitive functioning and internal moisture goes awry and your acetylcholine becomes depleted, you will not be able to focus on sex, let alone maintain your attention and stimulation.

• GABA is your "get started" brain chemical. It controls your anxiety; you will not be able to achieve an orgasm if you are tense. GABA and progesterone are intricately linked.

• Resolution is related to serotonin. If serotonin becomes depleted, your timing is off. You're either coming to the party too early or too late.

The Fix: Improving Muscle Mass Increases Sexual Pleasure

The core elements of my approach include early and innovative diagnostics, so that you can identify if you are experiencing problems relating to sex before symptoms occur. Then, you can enhance your particular brain chemical deficiencies through choosing the right foods and nutrients (and avoiding the wrong ones, like coffee, soda, and salt), as well as taking medications to resolve specific issues.

Another way to balance your brain chemistry is through physical exercise. We already knew that exercise improves almost every aspect of our health. Now, the latest studies link exercise to improving your sex life as well, and I'm not talking about Kegels. A 2009 study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands shows that building muscle mass leads to both neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, and angiogenesis, the increase in the amount of blood that flows to the brain.

By creating new brain cells, we enhance our brain functioning on both the physiological and the chemical level. This is one important way to reverse aging and increase hormone production in the brain and throughout the body. But when we are speaking about sex, it's also important to increase blood flow to areas that require a heightened sense of sensation. When cerebral blood volume increases, blood circulates to the rest of the body more freely, enhancing sexual pleasure. Both men and women will experience superior arousal; more blood flow to the genital areas increases your capacity for sensation, which is ultimately the pleasure of sex. Women will experience better lubrication, and men will have larger erections.

When you increase your muscle mass through exercise and diet, you will not only look and feel younger because you are in better shape, you will also begin to experience better, more frequent sex.. Best of all, you'll begin to feel better about your body, giving you yet another reason to relax. Details on following these suggestions can be found in my books, YOUNGER YOU, and THE YOUNGER (THINNER) YOU DIET.

Discuss an exercise program that focuses on increasing muscle mass with your doctor to see if it is right for you and your current state of health.