Sex after 50

Sex after 50 1

There’s a popular perception that older people lose interest in sex. Not true. Studies show that people maintain active sex lives well into their later years. For example, one recent survey found that more than half of men and almost a third of women over the age of 70 reported they were still sexually active. To prove that sexuality is alive (and lively) as we age, we turned to some of the most illuminating posts by Huff/Post 50’s bloggers about what sex after 50 is really like.


1. Sex between older women and younger men is no longer taboo.

“There are only plusses to dating younger men in my book. They generally have hair and smell nice. They know what they are going to wear and are still interested in looking good. They keep you on your toes and make you feel sexy, which makes you make an effort.” — High50

2. But men over 50 are, often, better in bed than younger men.

“A man 50 years and older is not in a hurry. He wants to please you and takes great pleasure in making sure that happens. He also knows there is a lot more to do in the bedroom than just regular intercourse.” — Jack Anderson

3. Even so, women — including those over 50 — don’t need a man in their lives at any cost.

“I was in a relationship with a handsome, professional man who shared many of my interests. But, I’d not been paying good and close attention to what was going on with me. What was I really doing? As I sat there listening to [my lover] and hearing his questioning of my feelings and desires, I realized I’d made a mistake — a big one. I’d been behaving like a teenager — infatuated, excited, intense, but also self-ignoring and silly.” — Robin Korth

4. You CAN reclaim passion out of boredom in a very long marriage.

“Whenever [my wife] or I want to connect — talk, cuddle or whatever — we make time for it right then, even if it’s brief or to at least say that’s what we want. Sending the clear message that your partner comes first goes a long way to relighting the fires of passion, and builds a solid foundation for everything else that comes along.” — Tim Peek

5. Married or single, physical attraction is just as important for those over 50 as it was at 20.

“I am of the (minority) opinion that if there is attraction, if there is a level of trust — it doesn’t have to be absolute (was it in your marriage?) — and if there’s no reason to believe one of you is a serial killer (there really aren’t too many over 50), then, Do It! And do it sooner rather than later.” — Joe Seldner

6. Soft penises are underrated.

“The number one myth of a soft cock is that the man is not feeling desire. This is simply not true. There are many reasons why a man has a limp penis before or during sexual activity that have nothing to do with his desire for you. So please do not take it as an indicator that your lover doesn’t want you. It’s sad that in our society we have been trained to believe that the sign of desire in a man is an erection. Dump that myth.” — Pamela Madsen

7. Boomer dating requires a fair amount of courage.

“So why date online and risk rejection? Online dating works for too many boomers not to consider it viable. After dozens of coffee dates with women I met online, I finally met my partner. Courage, determination, and stamina paid off.” — Ken Solin

8. Friends with benefits are STILL fun.

“We went at it like rabbits for a few weeks. Then I left. He was never a contender for a long-term relationship. He was intelligent, witty, enthusiastic, and physically very appealing, but we lived vastly different lifestyles. At my age, I have no interest in being with someone I’m not crazy about just so that I don’t have to be alone. I chose pretty, and I’m glad I did.” — Jodi Brown

9. Grownups play with sex toys — a lot.

“Our hormonally challenged bodies may need extra help to reach orgasm these days, and our wrists may tire before we reach our goal. Women: try a clitoral vibrator, with or without a dildo, depending on whether you like the feeling of a full vagina. Men: try a sleeve, cock ring, or prostate stimulator.” — Joan Price

10. Tinder isn’t just for kids.

“Tinder is like the old days. You’re at a bar and it’s strictly gut instinct. You swipe them to the left or you swipe them to the right — considered or not.” — Maryjane Fahey

11. Boudoir photoshoots aren’t just for 20-somethings.

“The shoot was a gift to me to celebrate my experience as a woman who has lived long enough to own her sexuality, with or without a partner. I would encourage any woman to do a boudoir shoot at least once in her life, especially when she’s past her supposed expiration date, so she realizes she’s anything but.” — Erica Jagger, whose photo accompanies this article

12. No matter what your age, you have the power to dramatically boost your sex life.

“Cross off items on your sexual bucket list. Younger men? A threesome? Tying up or tying down? Going to a sex club? As long as no one gets hurt, seize the day!” — Erica Jagger

Here are some of the documented benefits of sexual behavior between two people who have a relationship, although not necessarily a married one, (link is external) later in life, assuming that they are consenting and that health risks are not present:

At the level of chemistry, for both men and women:

  • Sex brings pleasure.  Dopamine, released during orgasm, is associated with our basic reward system.
  • Sex increases oxytocin (link is external), the “cuddle” hormone, and so promotes bonding, positive feelings of attachment, and trust.
  • Sex increases testosterone in both men and women. Frequency of sex in younger men appears to protect them from prostate cancer later in life (link is external) and to enhance the physiology of sexual functioning in women, preventing chronic cystitis, eventual prolapse, and incontinence (link is external). It is associated with increased survival in men (link is external), especially from heart attacks.  (link is external)

At the level of behavior:

  • Sex is a movement. and movement is related to happier moods, regardless of what time of day, at least in the (generally younger) 10,000+ people who participated in a random time-sampling study using a smartphone app to track movement and collect self-report data. People who moved — regardless of whether the movement was “exercise” or not — recorded happier moods and had higher life satisfaction, according to the University of Cambridge, England researchers (link is external).
  • Sex can be exercise.  Just how much “exercise” may be controversial, but, generally, judicious exercise is considered good for our health in many ways and at any age.
  • Sex is fun.   A 2004 national study (link is external) showed sex as the #1 activity associated with self-reported happiness.

At the level of emotion:

  • Because of the pleasure, sex is associated with increased subjective reports of positive feelings. (link is external)
  • Sexual behavior is also associated with fewer and less frequent (link is external)t symptoms of depression, both in women (link is external) and in men.   (link is external)
  • Physical activity is related to greater life satisfaction (link is external).  

At the level of cognition:

  • Sex enhances self-esteem.  At any age, people feel better when they are sought after by other people. Having a partner who wants to be with you in such a close and connected way increases feelings of self-worth, the lynch-pin of psychological health, according to theories of psychological health derived from Adlerian principles (link is external).
  • Sex allows people to believe they have something of value to give. Data document the benefits of generosity (link is external) to happiness and quality of life. Being a responsive sexual partner is an act of great generosity.

At the interpersonal level:

  • By increasing feelings of attachment (link is external), sex can lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation, identified as a major health risk in older people (link is external).
  • Interpersonal intimacy brings all the benefits of close social relationships as well as a midlife romantic one.
  • Relationship intimacy and sex are synergistic (link is external), each promoting the other.
  • Within long-term marriages (link is external), sexual contact helps sustain the marriage even as other stresses associated with aging threaten to challenge it.  For example, in one study of couples over 50 who had been married at least 20 years, impediments or barriers to sexual behaviors were of minimal importance as long as physical intimacy continued.

At the cultural level:

  • Attitudes towards sexual behavior vary dramatically among people of different cultural backgrounds.  Europeans may be more likely than Americans, with our emphasis on the attractiveness of youth, to appreciate the pleasures of physical intimacy as integral to living a good life. If there is a secret to aging well, Frenchwomen must know it. (link is external)
  • Being consistent within one’s cultural view of aging can bring a sense of coherence to one’s identity. A sense of coherence is associated with health and longevity (link is external). At the same time, feeling the rejection of a part of the self within one’s culture based on an external characteristic like gender or number of years lived in this world — i.e., sexism or ageism —  can create conflict and leave one feeling diminished. This has negative health consequences.
  • Generational differences (link is external) in sexual attitudes and practices demonstrate the extent to which people shift behaviors towards consistency with their peers.

Finally, at a spiritual level: 

  • Being able to take care of someone else sexually invokes feelings of gratitude, a source of appreciation for our resources (link is external).
  • Rewarding sex can require generosity (link is external), tuning in to the needs and wants of another person and reaching out to fill them.
  • Through all of the above, sexual behavior between two people who want to enjoy each other through physical touching can be a powerful way to communicate love.

As the European Court of Human Rights affirmed (link is external), sexual behavior in people 50 and older has an important role to play in the quality of life, ”physical and psychological relevance for the self-fulfillment [of women]” as well as promoting the welfare of men. The court decision was a wise one, providing institutional support for one of our most basic drives and greatest interpersonal needs.

Not in a relationship? There are great online sites to find your life partner for emotional support. One of them is  Silver Singles  . For the more religiously inclined, Christian Cafe is also worth popping into

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