Sex After Fifty – Myths and Realities

Sex After Fifty — Myths and Realities

When we’re young, we spend a lot of time thinking about how nice life will be when we’re older. When we’re older, we’ll have more money saved, we’ll have more time for the good things in life, and best of all, the kids will be grown, gone, and life will be so much easier.


Well, yes…maybe…and, no, not always.

Even assuming all of the above are true, i.e. more money, more time, fewer responsibilities, getting older brings its own array of new challenges. Aches, pains, vision and hearing problems. Arthritis. Bad backs. Dentures. Fallen arches. And the list goes on and on.

Years ago I worked for a delightful boss in his seventies, whose wife advised me to “enjoy yourself now, because the golden years are more than a bit tarnished.”

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Of course, when we’re younger and look forward to those golden years, one thing we rarely think about is intimacy. We take it for granted. Like breathing. As one man I know quipped one day, sex and breathing really are about the same. “You don’t think about either one until you can’t do it anymore,” he told me.

But, wait! Does getting older mean you have to give up intimacy?

Not exactly, although it may mean changing your ideas about what intimacy is, learing new ways to please your partner — and yourself — and for many couples, getting older can mean that sex gets even better.

“Sort of like a fine wine,” a friend remarked when we discussed the myths and realities of sex after fifty. “It improves with age,” she said with a smile.

The Myths

Probably the most common myth or misconception about sex and aging is that as we grow older we simply lose interest.

Nope. The good news is that there isn’t an age limit on sexuality. The even better news is that, according to a survey from the National Council on Aging, more than 70% of those over 60 who have regular intercourse say their sex lives are more satisfying now than when they were in their 40’s. Studies show, however, that at midlife and beyond, sexual satisfaction depends more on the overall quality of the relationship than it does for younger couples.

Another myth is that when older couples do have sexual relations, it’s what you might call “routine”. In other words, dull and not all that exciting.

Think again. Older lovers are more comfortable together, and therefore tend to be less inhibited. In a survey conducted by the University of Chicago a few years ago, over 3,000 people between the ages of 57 and 85 were interviewed. More than half said they gave or received oral sex. Even for those between the ages of 75 and 85, the rate was nearly a third.

OK, so what about the frequency of sex? Surely that’s going to decrease with age, right?

Not necessarily. It’s another myth for the most part, although the answer does depend somewhat on the individuals. Some couples are content with less-frequent intercourse, but most couples maintain the same patterns they’ve established in earlier years, rather it’s once a day, once a week, or once a month. Whatever has worked in the past, will still work.

Well…let’s back up a bit there. Some things won’t work like they did in the past. That’s where the realities of sex after fifty come in.


His erection probably won’t be what it was when he was younger, but that’s all right. It can still do what it needs to do. It might take a little longer, but since when has that been a problem? Longer arousal times mean more foreplay, more intimate talk, more pleasure.

But what if he really can’t perform? Medical conditions such as diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction, as can taking certain prescription medications. Does that mean sex is out of the question?

Of course not. It means it might be time to discuss the situation with a doctor. Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis all work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Another drug, Stendra, was approved by the FDA last year. There are also pumps, implants, and shots available. Do yourself — and your partner — a favor, gents. Have that little chat with your physician.

Another reality is that female parts don’t work quite the same either. Menopause can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort, but there’s a quick fix for that. You’ll find a variety of different lubricants available. You might also want to discuss estrogen-based creams with your doctor.

One of the best realities about sex and aging is that it not only feels good, it’s good for you. People who remain sexually active over fifty are apt to be more active overall and tend to stay more physically fit. Regular exercise boosts the libido, keeps the heart healthy, and muscles strong.

Will sex change as you age? Yes, of course, it will. The most important reality to remember is that sex doesn’t always have to include intercourse, and it doesn’t always have to end with orgasm. Touching, kissing, stroking, cuddling, or “spooning” as it’s often called, can sometimes be every bit as exciting and pleasurable as the sex act itself, and many times it’s even more emotionally satisfying.

For younger lovers, sex can actually be stressful, with both individuals feeling pressured to “perform”. Older couples have no such worries. They’re much more willing to relax and let things happen — or not. Either way, the time spent sharing yourself and your body with the one you love brings a genuine satisfaction that young lovers can’t yet begin to imagine.

Why Sex Gets Better After Fifty

  • Female sex drive often increases after menopause because the ratio of testosterone to estrogen and progesterone shifts.
  • Orgasms may be more frequent, more intense — or both — for women after menopause.
  • Longer arousal times for men mean more time for foreplay and intimate talk.
  • Woman past menopause no longer have to worry about pregnancy, making it easier to relax and enjoy their sexuality.
  • Retiring or cutting back on work hours means more time to enjoy sex with your partner.
  • By the age of fity, you know your body and what gives you pleasure.
  • If you and your partner have been together for a long time, it’s easier for  you to communicate your needs.
  • As we age, we lose a lot of our inhibitions, making sex more of an adventure than ever.
  • Mature couples are more experienced and much more sexually confident.
  • Sex after fifty is driven more by love than hormones, and being loved brings the greatest satisfaction of all.

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