It is true that there is limited research and literature on the sex lives of those over 45. What we do know is those between 45 and 54 years of age are still having pretty regular, awesome sex. We also know that once you reach the age of 73, sexual behavior tends to drop off.
But, not always.
Such things as age, being with a partner a long time, habit, boredom, self esteem, physical health, types of medications, long term relationships – all of these factors play into how much sex we have any time in life. Biologically speaking, illness plays a large factor in sexual activity. For instance, both women and men with diabetes seem to have a much poorer sex life than counterparts who do not. Pain and decreased drive were popular reasons. Medications elicit huge side affects as far as sexual desire is concerned – drugs such as those that relieve hypertension and cancer symptoms are two of the largest culprits.
But if you are of the age where you may not know who Skrillex is or have no idea that facebook is only for old people, you may be finding you are actually having a lot more sex than studies actually imply.
Psychologically speaking, attitude has a lot to do with it. As some age, they have a mindset that romance and sex is for the young. And common sense would explain that if sexual partners are difficult to find then your opportunities for sex are lessened. If this happens, it can actually cause a state of “sexual disinterest” (p. 232) which can be construed as a coping mechanism. Those who may actually have a partner still may simply be dissatisfied and have no interest – or so they convince themselves as such.
Findings from 745 women and 639 men surveyed who were anywhere from mid 40s to 80s found that oral sex declined significantly with age and correlated to the length of time they were in a relationship.
Apparently, the longer you are with a partner, the less oral sex happens.
Illness and medical treatments actually created more sexual intimacy overall, depending on the illness.
Those who were in a partnership still had a lot of sex and the more they had, the better and more positive they felt overall.
If men did feel bad about their relationships, their masturbation levels increased. Masturbation increased for all who were not in a continuous partnership.
So, what does this all mean? Sex is not over for you, my 40 year olds and beyond! All you have to do is check out what is actually happening (or not happening!) and get to it.
Are you simply in a rut? Need to spice it up? Do something you haven’t done lately? Or ever?
I dare you.
Have some sex, people. Romance and sex IS for you, too. It does a body good. Regardless of how old you are.
DeLamater, J. & Moorman, S.M. (2009). Sexual behavior later in life. In In Moore, N. B., Davidson, J. K., & Fisher, T. D. (Eds.). Speaking of sexuality: Interdisciplinary readings (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.