Some people seem to have oodles of it, for others it feels barely there. And when it comes to sex appeal, it seems age does matter. When women turn 45 they feel all but invisible to the opposite sex. Though men fare little better as the same happens to them at 47.
A poll of 2,000 people by Harley Street surgeon Dr Julian De Silva, of the Centre For Advanced Facial Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery, found women’s sexual confidence drops in their 40s while men say they are no longer “eyed up”.
Here, LBC Radio’s Sex and Relationships host Lucy Beresford and psychosexual therapist Cate MacKenzie talk us through their top tips to sort out your sex appeal. “You might be yearning for that sense of attraction from others to make you feel better but you have to love yourself first, then the rest will follow,” Lucy says. Here’s how...
Just a gentle walk can be enough to release endorphins and promote feelings of self-love, says Lucy. “You don’t have to join an expensive gym, it’s just about simple things like walking instead of getting the bus,” she says.
2. Love your body
Lucy says accepting what shape your body is and whatever it has been through is a key step. “By your mid to late-40s, you’ve been through a lot and you need to be in awe of your body and what it has achieved,” she says.
She recommends slathering your skin in cocoa butter to get back in touch with your body and to “love every inch of your skin”.
3. Have a change
“Treating yourself to a new haircut or doing something different with your nails or make-up can be great for the self-esteem,” Lucy says. Both men and women can boost their confidence by experimenting with their look.
4. Buy new underwear and clothes
“Make your bedroom into a boudoir so you feel sexy,” advises Cate. Buy new clothes and underwear to spice up things.
5. Surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you
“Don’t hang around with people who drag you down,” says Lucy. “Elegantly put them to one side.”
6. Be selfish
“Recognising that you’re worthy of self-respect and love is key,” Lucy says. “Take time for yourself.” “If you feel responsible for others try to develop a healthy selfishness where you get in touch with what you want and need, what pleasures you and start to ask for it,” Cate adds.
7. Write down your feelings
“Release thoughts about not being good enough or difficult relationship experiences by writing about them to clear them out,” says Cate.
8. Have a bath
Lucy says skin-on-skin contact with a partner in a bath or soapy shower can develop intimacy, or keep you in tune with your body if you’re single.
Lucy says people forget sex is meant to be fun – laughter is key even if it’s unintentional. “Even if you try something new or introduce something that gives you the giggles, that’s got to be better than just sitting on the sofa,” she says. Laughing also releases endorphins that can boost your mood – and sex appeal – making you more confident and appealing to potential partners.
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10. Read erotica
Cate says having fun with steamy books can put you in the mood.
11. Let go
Cate suggests allowing yourself to feel innocent and “let go” to become more appealing to yourself – and others.
“Be free to be friendly to lots of people with no expectation – see yourself as
an engaging, loving person,”
“Talking about what you used to do sexually is sometimes hugely helpful – if you talk about the old ‘you’ or the old ‘us’ if you’re in a relationship, you are easing yourself into changing your sex life now,” Lucy says.
13. Talk to your GP
For older women, hormonal changes connected to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, the menopause and ageing can all cause their libidos to plummet. Lucy says some medications can hinder your sexual response, including your desire for sex and your ability to become aroused. So maybe talk to your GP about switching to a different medication with fewer sexual side-effects.
15. Eat zinc-rich foods
Stock up on libido-boosting zinc-rich foods such as dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and watermelon. “Sit down and say, ‘Right, tonight I’m going to have a sexy supper,’” Lucy says.
16. Sex toys
Introducing a toy into the bedroom can be great for women who are single or in a relationship. “They are the kind of things women can buy for themselves and they are also fun and playful to use with your partner,” says Lucy. “They make things a bit more creative and imaginative.”
17. Make sex part of your everyday life – even if you’re not having sex
“Good lovers make sensuality part of their ongoing life,” explains Cate. Sex doesn’t always have to be about intercourse – send flirty or sexy texts, for example, or just be more open and inquisitive about sex in your day-to-day life to boost your sex appeal. “Remember most people are reading your energy not your age. If you are lit up people will want to be around you,” says Cate. “Sexuality is an energy that you can simmer and build if you connect with it, so why not do it?”
18. Focus on what you love
Stand in front of the mirror and identify all the things you love – it could be your long eyelashes or your fabulous smile – rather than the things you hate. “Talk to yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how much you love your body,” says Lucy.
“Give compliments, flirt and say what you want,” recommends Cate. “It’s very sexy.”
20. New hobbies
“Get out of your rut,” says Lucy, who recommends joining a book club or going to live music events. “Then you will start meeting more people and this will enrich your life.”Cate agrees, saying: “Look at your diary and check how much fun is there – and put more in.”
21. Seek help
If you find you are afraid of being seen as sexual or needy, it might be time to seek some help. A number of counselling services offer psychosexual and relationship therapy.
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