Some people believe that sex after 60 is less fun or necessary than it used to be. While adults over 60 may have less sex than their 20s and 30s, there’s little reason sex can’t be more pleasurable or passionate than ever.
Those over 60 may need to make some adjustments, but so do the diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes older adults need to make to maintain a high quality of life.
This article takes a closer look at sex after age 60, including the benefits for your health and emotional well-being. It also provides tips on how to keep your sex life active and enjoyable as you get older.
Do older adults have sex?
According to the National Healthy Aging Poll, 40 percent of adults ages 65 to 80 are sexually active. Of these, 73% said they were satisfied with their sex lives, while 54% of those with a partner said they were sexually active, and in all, two-thirds of the 1,002 seniors surveyed said they were sexual interest,
Thanks to advances in healthcare and nutrition, adults today are living longer and better lives than ever before. Problems that used to limit sexual activity in older adults, such as erectile dysfunction and low libido (sex drive), can now be treated with medicine or counseling and lifestyle changes.
Even so, as people age, they tend to have less sex due to hormonal changes, changes in health, shifting priorities and other factors.
Sexual frequency of older adults
A 2011 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at the frequency of sexual activity among 3,005 women and men between the ages of 44 and 72, born between 1933 and 1948.
They found that women tended to have a sharp decline in sex frequency after the age of 60, in part because they generally lived longer than their partners. In contrast, men over the age of 60 generally had more sex before age 72, but experienced a sharp decline when they were in poor health.
According to research:
- Women reported having sex an average of 4.68 times a month between the ages of 40 and 59, dropping to 1.74 times a month between the ages of 60 and 72.
- Men had sex on average 6.18 times a month between the ages of 40 and 59, dropping to 3.13 times a month between the ages of 60 and 72.
Interestingly, the introduction of Viagra (sildenafil) in 2010 had no effect on the frequency of sex in men taking erectile dysfunction drugs compared to men not taking erectile dysfunction drugs.
Likewise, a 2015 review by the University of Washington reported that while menopause can affect sexual function in older women, it does not affect sexual function in women treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when compared to women who did not. frequency of sex.
How often do couples actually have sex?
Health Benefits of Sex After Age 60
It’s time to put aside the cliché that strenuous sex in older adults can be harmful and even dangerous. An active sex life after age 60 has many health benefits. These include:
- Well-being: A 2019 study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported that sexual satisfaction in men corresponds to higher scores on enjoyment of life. In contrast, emotional intimacy related to sex, rather than sex itself, translated into higher lifestyle enjoyment scores for women.
- Improved health: A 2019 study by University College London found that higher frequency of sex in older adults was associated with lower rates of cancer, coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases. This shouldn’t suggest that having more sex protects against these diseases, but it does illustrate the link between sexual activity and physical health in older adults.
- Reduced genital dryness: More sex may help older women have better sex. A 2011 study by the University of California, Los Angeles reported that the higher the frequency of sex, the less genital dryness, dyspareunia (pain during sex).
- Better mental functioning: A 2019 study by Coventry University in the UK found that higher frequency of sex in older adults was associated with higher levels of cognitive function (including memory, flexible thinking, self-control, verbal fluency and visual acuity) There is a direct correlation between spatial processing). the ability to tell where an object is in space).
10 Health Benefits of Sex
Sex and intimacy in older adults
When you reach 60, intimacy doesn’t become less important. That being said, the very nature of intimacy is undoubtedly evolutionary.
Research shows that the sexual well-being of older adults is defined by five factors:
- physical intimacy
- Emotional intimacy during sex
- sexual compatibility
- sexual satisfaction
- Pain related to sexual function problems
As people age, they tend to describe sexual satisfaction in the context of these five factors.
More commonly, older adults value intimacy, connection, and affection over sex itself. Additionally, they tended to perceive partner sex as more intimate than having sex with multiple or occasional partners.
Having said that, intimacy without sex doesn’t translate to the same level of satisfaction.
According to a 2020 University of Zagreb study involving 3,814 adults between the ages of 60 and 75, intimacy and frequency of sexual intercourse together correspond to sexual well-being. A lack of both tends to reduce these feelings in both men and women.
Top 10 Sex Tips for Men Over 60
revitalize your sex life
There are a few things you can do to keep your sex life alive as you age. They all start by taking care of themselves. If you’re not physically and emotionally healthy, it can be harder to stay sexually healthy.
diet and exercise
If you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you will almost always have more energy and a better sense of well-being. Both can improve your libido and sexual function.
Even in young adults, being obese or overweight can affect sexual function. However, older adults tend to be more affected due to higher rates of heart disease, respiratory disease, and other aging-related diseases.
In contrast, achieving and maintaining an ideal weight through diet and exercise can improve sexual function at almost any age.
Diet and erectile dysfunction
A 2020 study from the University of California, San Francisco found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and fish (low in red and processed meat) was associated with a lower risk of erectile dysfunction. The study involved men between the ages of 40 and 75 and found the association across all age groups.
In women, regular exercise is often associated with improved sexual function during and after menopause. Certain activities, such as pelvic floor exercises, are thought to have a significant direct effect on sexual function in older women.
Treat medical problems
Older couples often face problems that directly affect sexual function. These include erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness and pain, and decreased libido.
Each can be handled in a different way:
- Erectile dysfunction: Treatment options include drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, which include Viagra and Cialis (tadalafil). Penis vacuum pumps, erection rings and penile implants are also optional.
- Vaginal dryness and pain: Treatment options include topical estrogen creams, vaginal estrogen suppositories, vaginal estrogen rings, non-hormonal vaginal lubricants, and a drug called Osphena (ospemifene), which can make vaginal tissue thicker and less prone to broken.
- Low libido: Treatment options include testosterone replacement therapy, counseling, and changing medications that may cause or contribute to decreased libido.
Talk to your primary care provider or gynecologist. You can also ask for a referral to a urologist who specializes in urinary and reproductive tract disorders.
Do I need sex therapy?
Many people over the age of 60 have active sex lives. Not only can a satisfying sex life make you feel better about yourself and your relationship, it can also reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your memory and cognitive function, and even enhance your sexual function.
As they age, they tend to prioritize intimacy and emotional connection over sex. Even so, the frequency of sex remains critical to the sexual health of older men and women.
Overcoming sexual dysfunction common to older adults can help maintain a sex life. Discuss the options available to you with your healthcare provider.
Pain about changes in sexual function can stress even the best of relationships. Being silent rarely makes things better.
One of the ways to keep your sex life alive is to talk openly with your partner about any issues you may have. Not only will it help you find a solution, but it will also bring you closer as a couple.
If you are single, it is also important to seek medical care if sexual dysfunction is causing you anxiety. Staying silent only increases the risk of isolation and depression.
Having said that, if you’re happy and well-adjusted, it’s great to be single without sex. Not having sex doesn’t mean you’re at greater risk for poor health. As long as you take care of your physical or emotional health, your future can be as bright as anyone else’s.