Let’s start with our 30s:
This is around the age when sex may start to slow down - but not by much. A study from the Kinsey Institute found that people in their 30s have sex 1.6 times per week, on average. Meanwhile, people in their 20s have sex 2 times per week - only slightly more than their older cohort. This drop-off is likely due to external factors, like growing family and work obligations, as well as physical changes that take place over this time period. Within genders, there are also stark differences.
Sex in your 30s: for Men
You’ll continue to have a strong sex drive, though it may decrease towards your late 30s as testosterone (T) starts to decline. Don’t worry though - the change is gradual, with T levels going down by 1% every year.
Your chance of experiencing erectile dysfunction is low, around 11% according to a study that tracked over 27,000 men, an uptick to the 8% likelihood experienced by men in their 20s. Until recently, it was believed that ED at such a young age was purely psychological - or “all in your head.” But new research has identified biological causes in large chunks of the population, with risk factors like smoking, hypertension, diabetes and penile trauma.
In addition to physical changes, there are mental ones, too. You’re likely feeling more confident with years of experience under your belt, and if you’ve been with your partner for a while, you may be more adventurous too.
Here are just a few quotes from men in their 30s, found in Redbook magazine:
"This isn't really a symptom of being older specifically, but once you have kids, sex definitely changes…once they're old enough to be able to barge into your room, you tend to fit a lot of quickies in.” Another perspective: "I've probably slowed down in terms of my sexual appetite. But I've also found myself being much more confident and sure of myself. I guess I'm not as sex-focused but sex feels… easier?"
Pro tip: using a cock ring - which makes erections harder, bigger and longer-lasting - is a safe, easy method to combat ED for men in their 30s.
Sex in your 30s: for Women
During your 20s and early 30s, your sex drive is peaking. You’ll likely feel more open to sex early on in relationships, and be having more sex, period. Many women also report having more sexual fantasies during this age than at any other point. Scientists believe this boost in libido is caused by the body’s biological clock: women are at their most fertile.
By your mid 30s, testosterone and estrogen levels are dropping, which causes reduced libido, as well as bone loss and slower metabolism.
If you’re having kids, there are hormonal changes happening during pregnancy that can increase or decrease libido. Your sex drive may be highest during your second trimester, when your hormones and extra blood flow to your genitals can strengthen orgasms. Right after you give birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically - which leads to lower sex drive and vaginal dryness.
According to Vanessa Marin, a psychotherapist, there’s an evolutionary reason for this: “It’s basically her body’s natural way of ensuring that she takes the time to properly heal and focus on caring for the baby instead of on trying to have another one,” she says in a Vogue article.
Luckily, by around month three, these hormones return to pre-baby levels. If you’re still struggling with libido at this point, there are hormonal treatments and lubricants that may help, in addition to stress reduction techniques like yoga or dance. Masturbation can also help reconnect with your body, says Marin.
“I definitely have more fun with sex now and am less concerned about impressing someone. I know what feels better for me alone, and how to get the guy to get it right, too.”
“It’s okay to have mixed feelings about your sensuality and sexuality after welcoming a child, and it’s okay to allow yourself time to process those changes.”
“[Sex after a baby is] definitely different. I’m so exhausted at the end of each day.”In conclusion - sex is changing in new and exciting ways. For both genders, your 30s is a time to be bold and confident in the bedroom. If you’re a woman, your sex drive may be higher than it’s ever been - especially in your early 30s - and men are also near their peak, and experience ED at relatively low rates. Relish this time, whether you’re single or with a partner. Worry less about quantity and more about quality - your 30s is a time to have really incredible, earth-shattering sex.