Sex and ageing – an uncomfortable conversation for some

Why don’t people talk much about sex and ageing? Why does it seem that the general consensus in the wider community is that older adults don’t have much sex or even want it?

Try having this conversation with your adult children and I guarantee most will stumble over their words, possibly blush (yes, they will), put their hands over their ears and shout la la la and attempt to change the subject asap.

Now granted, it is difficult for some adults to talk about sex at any age and particularly about their own proclivities and desires.

It does seem to be the last area of taboo among friends, despite many of us growing up with Cleo and Cosmopolitan and a raft of detailed knowledge. No-one wants to talk about it much on too personal a level. But then throw a few oldies into the mix and the assumption is that once you’ve turned 60 or 70, you no longer have any interest in getting down and dirty.

Granted our bodies are not what they once were. Sagging skin, paunchy stomachs from either childbirth or too much beer, and a tendency for gravity to do its work, can impact on how others see us and how we see ourselves. It is probably best not to have that long mirror in view in the bedroom and maybe dim the lights a little. Daylight can be a turn-off.

The media is, of course, not kind to the aged, with the focus still firmly on the young. Look at the remarks made about Camilla to gauge the rancour and disparaging comments directed at even royalty. She was described as an old bag and criticised for her failure to embrace Botox and fillers, because of course she could afford it and why hadn’t she, came the cry. But Charles still sees her as sexy and vital to his life. Good on him.

We know the lustful hormone-ridden days of our youth are gone but that does not mean we are dead to any sexual feelings or desire to be held. For women, there are some benefits in having body parts that don’t seem to suffer quite the same fate as men. However, tissues can become dry and sex can be painful but modern medicine is just a script away to help with lubrication and hormone creams.

Erectile dysfunction plagues many men as they age, particularly if other health areas, such as diabetes and obesity are thrown into the mix. But still, we know there is help with little blue pills and a sympathetic and patient partner. And sometimes orgasm is not the be-all and end-all of sexual pleasure.

Leaving aside what modern medicine can do to enhance sexual relations in the older population, it is a mind shift that is needed and a more open discussion and acceptance of the changing nature of sex as we age.

Why should the desire to be held and pleasured be the preserve and right of only the young?

Many nursing homes are grappling with, and coming up with, policies and expectations for their residents, while their adult children often express horror and concern that their parents might even want to be touched by some else. Heaven forbid that the older adults still have needs beyond being fed endless games of bingo and plonked in front of daytime television.

Granted, desire is a very personal thing. But to label all older adults as sexless, and suggest they should be over it, is to do damage and harm to what should still be a life of pleasure and enjoyment.

What’s your view on sex and ageing? Should it not be such a barely discussed topic? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also read: What’s wrong with paying for good sex?


  1. Personally, at the age of 71, my interest is still keen but my problem is, when it comes to the act, it is so difficult to move around in bed because of aging physically. I start laughing uncontrollably when I want to move my legs around my husbands body.
    It may seem funny, but it is irritating when I want to reach organism. That is something the youth would never understand,

    • You should read the book ‘Sex in Your Seventies’. ( Personally, as an oldie, I have found that the sex is just the same as when I was young, just less acrobatic! The problem for many is finding the right partner. I was fortunate

    • Not many replies so thought I would chirp in.
      My wife and I are in our early 70’s and we can both relate to ageing and the negative effects of gravity.
      We love each other dearly, cuddle and kiss daily and we are still sexually active, we used to number our liaisons per week although we now number them per month/year, I’m sure that people of our age can relate to that.
      Prostate enlargement doesn’t help, but we both find that our libido is diminishing, probably my wife’s more than mine so I usually let her initiate an encounter usually after some hints… We both enjoy our foreplay, and intercourse with lubrication as an absolute necessity.
      We found the best lubricant its called olive&bee, buy it online.

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