The Golden Years: why do older people have so much sex?

You might not love the idea of your parents or grandparents having sex, let alone the visual, but guess what? They’re totally doing it. 

But while sex may be an important part of life, the stereotype is that only young people are having sexytime. And that’s just not true. 

We live in a hypersexualised society, with sex featuring everywhere from advertisements to TV, to pop music targeted at tweens. But sex culture is almost always depicted with young, able bodied, classically attractive and fit people. 

Think about it: how often have you seen an advertisement with an older man in a bathing suit? How often have you seen a TV show that shows an older woman having an orgasm? 

Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening! In fact, one study found that 57% of older people (65+) are having sex, while a poll of American older people found around 40% of people aged 56-80 are having sex. 

But is it good sex? Short answer, yep! Another study found that sexual satisfaction increases in sexually active older women, with a majority of women polled reporting frequent arousal and orgasm into old age. 

So why is sex when you get older so earth-shatteringly good? 

  1. Older people know their bodies really well 

Older people have literally lived in their bodies for decades. So you know what you like and don’t like and, if you have a partner, what they like and don’t like between the sheets (or wherever you like to get frisky). This leads to a greater feeling of sexual confidence and satisfaction. 

  1. New beginnings 

A lot of older people also might be recently single - by virtue of being widowed or going through a divorce or separation, in new relationships, or are even long-term singles. But none of these mean oldies can’t enjoy a great sex life – whatever that looks like. You might be sleeping around or in the throes of a new fling. 

It doesn’t matter what age you are, a new sexual experience or sexual partner can be super exciting, and a wealth of experience can lead to more satisfying sex. 

  1. No job? No kids? No problem.

As an older person, you may have seen your kids fly from the coop and there’s probably been a retirement or a reduction in working. So what’re you gonna do with all that spare time and extra privacy? Have heaps of loud, uninterrupted sex, that’s what. 

  1. Bodily changes can be great for sex 

Yes, we all age. Yes, we’ll all end up with saggy bits. Yes, we can still have a ton of sex. 

While some parts of ageing aren’t so great (see: cursed mystery aches and pains), there’s actually a few upsides in the bedroom. 

For those with penises, getting and maintaining an erection can be more difficult, but there is a certain little blue pill for that. It can also take longer to ejaculate as we age, conveniently meaning more sexual pleasure time for all. 

Those going through menopause might find their libido going through the roof. And for those who find their libido and desire crash, there are therapies and medications, like hormone replacement, that can help get you back in the saddle (if that’s what you want). 

  1. Retirement living 

You may have seen the news reports of retirement villages being hotbeds of debauchery, from swingers parties that use different coloured loofahs to indicate their sexual preferences (like the gay and bisexual male “hanky” code), to retirement homes updating their previously strict “no hanky panky” policies in favour of residents having autonomy over their sexual needs and desires. 

And it makes sense. If you live in a retirement village you probably have a fair chunk of time to pass along with the dozens or even hundreds of other residents. 

But what if you don’t have a sexual partner? No problem! Give that hand a workout or use a vibrator or sex toy. 

While all of us might feel anxious about ageing and our sex lives, the reality is that you can have just as much - if not more - great sex no matter how far into your golden years you are. Embrace the bodily, hormonal and lifestyle changes, and enjoy yourself!

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