How and Why Sex Gets Better with Age

By Dr. Jess Relationships Sex and Age

Depictions of passionate sex in popular culture tend to focus on the young and restless, but the potential for sexual pleasure extends across the lifespan and has the potential to get better with age. While the frequency of sexual activity may decline with age, the quality of our sex lives often improves over time. One study from over 6,000 Americans over 18 years concluded that sexual quality is higher for older folks when accounting for key sociodemographic characteristics as well as mental and physical health.

Researchers at the University of Manchester found that 80 percent of sexually active men over 50 are satisfied with their sex lives, while 85 percent of sexually active women between the ages of 60 to 69 are satisfied. Among those over the age of 79, 90% of survey participants say they’re sexually satisfied. Orgasm rates also increase with age for women. A survey of 2,100 people between the ages of 18 and 70 found that women over the age of 45 are far more likely to orgasm consistently during sex. And 63% of women aged over 45 are orgasming every sexual encounter in comparison to just 36% of women aged 18 to 25.

This data is supported by hundreds of stories I hear from singles and couples in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond who say that sex ages like a fine wine for several reasons:The meaning of sex broadens, and we find pleasure in experiences beyond the goal-oriented orgasm. For example, sex is more likely to involve intimate or spiritual connection, meaningful bonding, expressions of affection, and quality time spent with a loved one. How we have sex expands to include different types of touch, exploration of the full body, the use of lube and toys, and new approaches to pleasure. (Side note: Did you know that lube is associated with higher levels of sexual response, pleasure, and function? Order your free sample here!)

Our sense of self also tends to improve with age. We’re more comfortable in our skin, physically and metaphorically. We’re more likely to communicate our needs, preferences, and boundaries with clarity and grace. And we may be more open to feedback, guidance, and learning from our lover(s). This might involve talking about fantasies or exploring new erogenous zones with curiosity and confidence. Relationships often improve with time in terms of trust, comfort, connection, understanding, and intimacy. When you feel safe to express yourself with a sexual partner, you’re more likely to be present, mindful, and open to new experiences.

Of course, aging also brings about physical changes that can affect sexual response and function. Some of the most common changes might include: Loss of libido or desire for sex. Pain or discomfort with penetration due to hormonal changes, thinning skin, and lack of lubrication. Erectile issues. Loss of libido or desire for sex can occur at any point in your life. Some folks experience this in their 20s and 30s when life’s stresses (e.g., work, finances, kids) begin to pile up, and others experience this loss in their 40s, 50s, and 60s due to physical, lifestyle, and hormonal changes. If you’re looking to reignite desire at any age, consider the following: Permit yourself to seek pleasure more generally – from the foods you eat to the music you groove to and everything in between. The more you embrace non-erotic pleasure outside of the bedroom, the more likely you are to seek sexual pleasure solo or with a partner. Read more about how to make pleasure a priority here.

Tap into responsive desire. Oftentimes, when we say that we’ve lost our libido, it’s because we’re waiting for it to fall in our lap. But sexual desire need not be spontaneous; in most cases, sexual desire is responsive, meaning that you often do something to get in the mood rather than wait for the mood to arise on its own. You might fantasize to create desire, or you might touch yourself or have a partner touch you. You might read a story that turns you on, or you might play with a toy. Once you realize that you can cultivate desire, you have more agency in determining what sexual desire looks like. Consider lifestyle changes that support your desire for sex. Do you find that you’re more likely to be in the mood when you eat certain foods or move your body in specific ways (e.g., yoga, Pilates, dance, or sports)? Perhaps you notice that your desire for sex increases when you invest in quality time spent with your lover, or you may find that your libido pops up when you give yourself time to rest and recharge. Libido isn’t only about hormones (but please see your doctor regularly!), and small lifestyle shifts can affect how you feel about sex and navigate sexual desire. If you’re looking for a sensual libido boost, check out ASTROGLIDE’s new Lube Plus Libido; it’s formulated with plant-based aphrodisiacs and adaptogens to heighten desire, promote relaxation, and enhance pleasure.

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort with penetration, you have many options at your disposal: First and foremost, you can play and enjoy sex without penetration. Check out these 20+ oral sex techniques to get started. One of the takeaways from sex and aging is the reminder that sex doesn’t have to include center penetration. There are many other ways to experience pleasure, connection, and orgasm. If you want to explore the pleasure of penetration, you’ll want to use good quality lube; a silicone formula with good cushion is probably your best option. Order a sample of ASTROGLIDE X Premium Silicone Gel here.

I also highly recommend a pelvic floor therapist if you’re experiencing pain. They can create a plan for improved pelvic floor function that might include stretches, exercises, physiotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments. If you’re experiencing issues with erection, the first stop is your healthcare practitioner. You can have your testosterone levels checked. This is essential because erectile issues can signal other health concerns. If you want to enjoy sexual pleasure, you need to take care of your overall health, so book that appointment now. (Go ahead! Take a break from reading and call your doctor.) It’s important to note that erectile functioning changes as you age. 50% of men over 50 will run into erectile issues, but it doesn’t have to be the end of sex or pleasure. Many people discover new approaches to pleasure once they’re no longer hung up on the erection itself. You may discover arousal from erogenous zones that have been long-ignored, or you might explore novel approaches to orgasm, including sex toys for penises (check out Astroglide’s Toy ‘n Joy FINISHER ) or the full-body pleasure of the prostate (AKA the male G-Spot).

To support erectile health at any age, consider the following: Experiment with penis rings which trap blood in the penis to create a firmer sensation. You can even opt for vibrating models that enhance sensation. Check out our top sex toy picks here! Play with vibrations on other hot spots to build arousal (e.g., press a flat vibe against the perineum behind the balls or over the nipples). Research suggests vibrator use is associated with heightened sexual desire, response, and function. Make dietary adjustments to include more foods that support heart health and circulation. Check out our Better Sex Diet here. Engage in aerobic exercise, as physical fitness and exercise are linked with positive erectile function. See a pelvic floor physiotherapist who can assess the muscles that support penile health and sexual response and provide you with a customized plan to support erectile function.

Aging with grace can include embracing pleasure in many forms, so don’t let age hold you back from embracing your sexual self. If you frame change as an opportunity to explore and learn something new, you’ll experience more pleasure, better communication, and even full-body orgasms in your golden and platinum years.