Adults Over 50 Are Still Having Plenty of (Good) Sex

Yes, old people still have sex. In fact, they might be having the best sex of their lives.

Photo shows an older couple lying in bed holding hands. According to recent studies, people over 50 are still having a lot of sex.
Yes, the olds are still having sex. In fact, they might be having better sex than you.
LWA-Dann Tardif/Getty

Culturally, we tend to think of sex as a young man’s game, an activity reserved for horny teens and adults under 50 — provided they remain unmarried, of course. This is largely because we rarely see sex between older adults represented in media. Sure, we might sometimes (or, often, actually) see an aging leading man paired with a much younger female co-star, but the closest we usually come to a glimpse into the sex lives of two people with silver hair and wrinkles are those Viagra commercials where two aging lovers sit side by side watching the sunset in clawfoot bathtubs for some reason.

Of course, the idea that your sex life shrivels up and dies the second you hit middle age is a load of ageist nonsense. In fact, a recent study found that not only are older adults still sexually active, but many of them are having better sex after age 50 than they were in their presumably sexier youth. According to the OnePoll survey conducted by sex toy company LELO, 45 percent of adults report having better sex as they’ve aged. And while most respondents said they are having less sex now than in their youth — most cited their 30s as their sexual peak in terms of frequency — one in eight Americans over 50 report still having sex five times a week.

“While sex may change through the years, many 50 and older adults still enjoy healthy intimacy,” said Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MS MD FACOG, an expert for LELO. “While habits in the bedroom may change with age due to health issues, menopausal hormone changes and life circumstances, many older adults enjoy intimacy and discover new and exciting activities to keep the spark alive.”

Speaking of keeping the spark alive, not only are older adults maintaining an active sex life, but the survey also found many over-50s have become more sexually adventurous with age. According to the study, two in three adults over 50 are comfortable with being experimental in the bedroom, while more than half say they are more comfortable trying new sex positions now than ever before.

“The results of this enlightening survey clearly tell us that sex remains important to individuals and couples throughout their life. It also helps debunk the pervasive myth that sex gets worse as one ages,” said fellow LELO sexpert Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., author of Becoming Cliterate and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex. According to Mintz, one of the biggest sexual transitions that takes place as we age tends to be a shift towards a focus on quality over quantity.

“Scientific studies show that when we are younger, our sexual satisfaction depends more on how often we have sex (i.e., more sex = better sex), yet as we age, quantity matters less and quality matters more,” said Mintz. “Stated a bit differently, older adults seem to care more about the thought and effort that goes into sex than how often they are doing it. This survey shows that older adults are open to experimentation and expanding their sexual repertoire.”

So if you’re middle-aged and worried an inevitable sexual decline is on its way, you can rest assured that the best sex of your life may still be to come. Meanwhile, if you’re a smug little 20-something like myself, take this as a humbling wake-up call that the olds might actually be having better sex than you.

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