A Healthy Sex Life for Seniors

Sexual intimacy does not stop as you age

Older couple sitting on park bench
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One of the myths of aging is that a satisfying and enjoyable sex life after 60 is impossible. Don't be fooled, though, and don't be disheartened. As with most myths, this one has long since been disproved.

A Healthy Sex Life After 60

The truth is, many seniors are enjoying a healthy sex life well into their golden years. Thanks especially to recent advances in the medical field, along with improved nutrition and healthcare, people are living longer. The quality of life in those later years is also improving. As a result, it has become easier to keep sexual relationships going strong.

There may even be health benefits to maintaining your sex life. One study, for instance, compared cognition to the sexual activity of people between 50 and 89. Taking into account a number of factors, researchers determined that there is indeed an association between more sex and improved recall. While men showed more aptitude in remembering number sequences, women had a better memory overall.

This can be a relief for many older adults to hear because intimacy doesn't become any less important once you hit 60. The nature of intimacy can certainly evolve, though.

A Mature Outlook on Intimacy

When we're younger, we tend to heavily associate relationships with sex. It's quite normal, especially during our reproductive years when hormones play a large role in our natural instincts. Quite often, a more mature look at intimacy comes with age, one in which all roads do not necessarily lead to intercourse.

Many people find that simple acts of affection can have a deep meaning and be very pleasurable. A hug, a kiss, even holding hands can be quite enjoyable. Sex itself can also become more passionate and comfortable as the urgent lust of youth dissipates.

Additionally, there is a sense of freedom to sex after a certain age. You no longer have to concern yourself with pregnancy, for instance, so there may be more opportunity to simply enjoy being close to another person. However, sexually transmitted diseases and similar concerns do not go away with age.

There is also a special closeness that couples in long-term relationships feel. Simply knowing that your partner is lying next to you in bed can be a great comfort. As they get older, many find themselves appreciating this even more. It often becomes most apparent after the death of a partner, with many widows and widowers noting that the nights are the loneliest times.

Keep the Romance Alive

There are a number of things you can do to keep the romance alive, but it all starts with taking care of yourself. If you're not physically healthy, it will be that much harder to remain sexually healthy.

Eat a nutritious diet. If you eat, you'll have more energy for any activity. It's good to stay active as well. Do your best to maintain your strength and agility with whatever form of exercise fits naturally into your lifestyle. Keeping up with a fitness program will also help to improve your flexibility and self-esteem. All of this will only make sex more pleasurable.

For some couples, erectile dysfunction (ED) can become an issue. If so, talk to your doctors. There are many ways to treat ED or, at the very least, manage or work around it. Surgical procedures, vacuum devices, and medications are among the things your doctor may recommend.

Likewise, vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during intercourse. A quick trip to the drug store can solve that problem. A water-based lubricant is usually effective and available over the counter. This can also provide extra motivation to experiment with different forms of foreplay that can more effectively induce physical arousal.

Your body will change as you age. This is inevitable for everyone and, as a result, sex will change as well. You may find that certain forms of intimacy are no longer easy or possible. And while this may be frustrating, you can try to see this as an opportunity. 

Try new things, explore each other's bodies, and discover new sources of pleasure. For example, AARP says that intimate acts like hand massage, oral sex, and toys are alternatives couples can turn to. Even something as simple as a foot massage or a long embrace with kisses can feel good. These may seem like small things, but they can redefine sex for both of you.

A Word From Verywell

Sexual health is an integral part of overall health and well-being. Don't give up on your own sexual health just because things are different. Talk to your partner and explore what you're both comfortable with. Intimacy can be strong and make you happy, no matter your age.

View Article Sources
  • Castleman M. Great Sex Without Intercourse. AARP. 2012.
  • Wright H, Jenks RA. Sex on the Brain! Associations Between Sexual and Cognitive Function in Older Age. Age and Ageing. 2016;45(2):313–317. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv197.