The sexual revolution might have started in the 1960s (and it arguably continues today), but there is one demographic that’s been completely shut out: seniors. We still don’t talk about senior sexuality, and if we do it’s while we try not to cringe. Why? What is it about sex and seniors that makes talking about it taboo? Part of it may be that we assume that sexual appetite and satisfaction decrease as you age, so why talk about the least sexually satisfying part of your life? Well, the latest research suggests that’s hardly the truth.
Certain aspects of senior male sexuality get a lot of attention thanks to the wide range of products treating erectile disfunction, which have become part of our collective consciousness thanks to commercial exposure (Viagra is arguably the most well-known of these products). Because testosterone levels decrease with age, some men may experience a lower libido or less intense sexual responses, but there’s actually a plus to that: for heterosexual partners, there’s less worry that men will climax before their partners are ready. A large-scale study from the University of Chicago found that premature climax is less common among the oldest men (85 and older) than among men in their late 50s and early 60s. Men 75 and older were also less likely than those in their 50s to avoid sex because of sexual problems, and less likely to lack pleasure in sex. These findings imply that sex for older men might change a little in terms of style, but it changes a lot less than we think in terms of satisfaction level.
Senior female sexuality is a much less-talked-about subject. Not only are older women from the Baby Boomer Generation still affected by their generation’s attitude toward sex, but as a culture, we seem to talk about menopause more often than sex. Yes, menopause is an important part of aging as a female, but it has little to do with sexual satisfaction. One of the only things that might change after menopause is a thinning of the vaginal tissue, which can cause discomfort during intercourse but can also be treated easily with lubricants. A study from the University of California found that two thirds of women 60 and older say they’re moderately to very satisfied sexually. The same study broke women into three age groups from 60 years to 89 years old. All three groups showed little to no difference in sexual satisfaction, indicating that satisfying sex for older women stays satisfying into their upper 80s!
Keeping Things Interesting
The much-touted and controversial flibanserin, commonly referred to as “female Viagra”, is meant for pre-menopausal women. But there are plenty of other options for older women and men looking to increase sexual satisfaction. Safe sex is as important for seniors as it is for young people. Sexually transmitted diseases are not only uncomfortable, they can complicate existing medical conditions. However, with proper caution there’s no reason older adults shouldn’t enjoy sexual experimentation. In fact, a growing number of women over 50 are buying sex toys and seeing fantastic results. Because many sex toy reviews likely don’t cover whether the product is good for people with arthritis, etc., online resources have emerged that evaluate sex toys for seniors based on the attributes that matter to them!
What are your views on aging and sexuality? Do you notice generational or gender differences in sexual discussions? Share your thoughts below!