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Sexual Changes With Aging

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Sexual cravings in the twenties differ from those in the fifties. Read this article to learn what causes a change in sexual desires and how to deal with them.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ramchandra Lamba

Published At September 7, 2022
Reviewed AtJanuary 3, 2024


Age is a biological component that influences sexual ideas. Physiological changes in men and women occur as they become older, impacting sex life. In most healthy adults, the pleasure and desire for sex do not wane with age. Age is not the reason to change sexual habits. Older people may need to make a few minor adjustments to accommodate physical limits or the impact of specific illnesses or medications. Sexuality in later life is often despised, denied, and treated as a matter of amusement. It is critical to recognize that the need for sex and intimacy is universal and that older people are sexually motivated as well.

Having good physical and sexual health is crucial at any age. Sex may not be the same as the age progresses, but it may still be incredibly satisfying. And the urge for closeness is limitless. It is a fallacy that when people reach their fifties, they lose interest in sex. Libido is not age-dependent, but it is age-sensitive. While being older does not alter sexual impulses, difficulties connected with getting older, such as diabetes, dementia, the death of a partner, and mental stress, can reduce libido. Thereby, there are no number of people who lose interest in sex.

What Changes Affect the Sexual Lives of Older Individuals?

In men:

  • Erection and ejaculation are delayed.

  • Erection may be less rigid.

  • The time between ejaculations may lengthen.

  • Ejaculation can be postponed for prolonged periods.

  • Orgasm could be milder.

  • In older persons, the reduced anticipatory arousal and refractory period last hours to days, whereas it only takes minutes in younger ones.

Most of these physical changes are caused by a progressive decrease in testosterone levels.

In women:

  • Vaginal wall thinning and elasticity loss cause discomfort during intercourse.

  • There is less lubrication.

  • The orgasmic reaction is reduced or slowed.

  • Decreased sensation at the nipple and cervix area.

  • Excitation takes a longer time.

The majority of physical changes occur after menopause due to lower estrogen levels.

Is Andropause a Real Thing?

Andropause is another name for male menopause. The testosterone hormone is reduced in men during andropause. Andropause can cause physical, psychosocial, and sexual problems, such as

  • Reduced muscle mass and a sense of physical weakness.

  • Swollen or sore breasts, smaller testicles, hair loss, and hot flashes.

  • Erection is less frequent, durable, and reliable.

  • Infertility due to a decrease in libido.

They usually strike men at about the same time as women who enter menopause.

What Are the Causes of Reduced Sexual Activity in Older Adults?

  • Alcohol: Too much alcohol might make it difficult for males to get an erection and delay a woman's climax.

  • Arthritis: Arthritis-related joint pain can make having sex difficult. This discomfort may be reduced with medication, exercise, and even joint replacement surgery. It can be beneficial to take breaks, take warm baths, and alter the location or timing of sexual activity.

  • Persistent Discomfort: Intimacy can be hampered by pain. Moreover, it may result in fatigue and weariness, which leaves little energy or desire for sex. It is not necessary for chronic pain to accompany aging and is frequently treatable. However, some painkillers affect a person's ability to conceive. If they experience any side effects from a medicine, always discuss them with their healthcare provider.

  • Dementia: Even though they might not be able to discern what constitutes healthy sexual behavior, people suffering from some types of dementia might exhibit an increased interest in sex and physical intimacy.

  • Depression: Depression may manifest as a lack of interest in once-enjoyed behaviors, such as intimacy and sexual activity.

  • Diabetes: This is among the conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). Medical care can usually be helpful. Diabetes that is not well managed can result in yeast infections, which can itch and irritate the body and make sexual relations awkward or unattractive.

  • Heart Conditions: Blood vessels may become narrowed or hardened in the arteries, causing blood flow to become restricted.

  • Incontinence: As people age, urinary leaks and loss of control are more likely. Urine leaks can occur from sexual pressure exerted on the abdomen. Vacuuming the bladder both before and after sex and switching positions can help with this.

  • Medications: Certain medications can have adverse effects that make it difficult to have sex, like ED, dry vagina, trouble ejaculating, problems with arousal and orgasm, and decreased sexual desire. Certain blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, medications for other mental health issues, sedatives, treatments for Parkinson's disease or cancer, appetite suppressants, and anti-ulcer medications are among the medications that can result in these issues.

  • Being Overweight: Adults who are obese or overweight are more likely to experience erection issues.

  • Peyronie's Illness: This condition causes the penis to bend or curve, commonly during an erection, as a result of scar tissue that develops beneath the penis' skin and tugs on surrounding tissues.

  • Stroke: Sometimes, a stroke affects one's ability to have sex. Those with persistent paralysis or weakness may find that having intercourse is made easier with a change in position or medical aid.

  • Surgery: Any type of surgery can be frightening, but when it involves the breasts or other genitalia, as it does with the procedures on this list, the anxiety can be significantly greater.

    • Hysterectomy: A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the uterus due to various reasons such as pain, bleeding, fibroids, etc.

    • Mastectomy: A mastectomy is the removal of all or a portion of the breast, usually as a preventative measure against breast cancer. Some persons may experience a decrease in their desire or attraction or lose their sexual interest as a result of this operation.

    • Prostatectomy: A prostatectomy is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the prostate is removed, usually due to an enlarged prostate or cancer. It could result in ED or urine incontinence.

How Do Diseases Impair Sex Life in Older Adults?

  • Diabetes: Any condition that impacts overall health and well-being may also affect sexual health. Cardiovascular illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hormone issues, melancholy (severe depression), or anxiety, might make it challenging to engage in sexual activity. Men with diabetes are more likely to lack interest in sex and suffer from erectile dysfunction. Men and women are reported to have more orgasm problems, such as climaxing too rapidly (men) or not at all (women).

  • Arthritis: Arthritis causes joint pain, which can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Exercise, medications, and possibly joint replacement surgery could all help to alleviate the discomfort. Rest, warm baths, and repositioning or timing sexual activity are suggested.

  • Urinary Incontinence: As people, particularly women, get older, they are more likely to lose bladder control. Urine loss can occur when there is too much pressure on the belly during intercourse. Changing postures or emptying the bladder before and after intercourse can help.

How to Have a Satisfying Sex Life in the Older Age?

There are a few fundamental ways that can be helpful:

  • Being innovative, adaptable, and willing to adjust.

  • Exploring the body for sexual sensations and hypersensitive spots.

  • Communication of feelings to partner honestly and transparently.

  • The knowledge of the current medical situation should be kept in mind to increase the rate of satisfying sex.

  • When it comes to intimacy, it is always better to choose a time of day when they are most at ease, private, and have the most energy.

  • Reduce the symptoms by using remedies (stretching, warm baths, pain medication).

What Steps Should One Take To Stay Safe?

A vital component of both physical and mental wellness is sex. One can build intimacy (closeness) and communicate their emotions for the other person through sexual activity in a relationship. It also improves physical health by lowering stress and elevating self-esteem.

  • Consult a Doctor: While many adults experience sexual dysfunction as they become older, very few of them discuss their symptoms with their physicians. By treating medical disorders like erectile dysfunction, the inability of a male to maintain an erection, or vaginal dryness, a physician can help to enhance sexual health.

  • Have a Conversation With the Partner: Open communication about sex with the spouse can feel awkward at first. But speaking with one another is crucial. Share sentiments and worries with the companion. Discuss the desires for the shared sexual experiences they hope to have.

  • Modify the Daily Schedule: Modify the routine if one and their spouse are experiencing issues with sex. Give arousal more time. Try out some other roles. Use imagination. One might discover that they do not have sexual relations as frequently as they formerly did, but one can still be intimate in different ways. Take time to caress, kiss, and just be with one other.

  • Have Safe Sexual Relations: Sexually transmitted infections continue to be a problem for older persons (STIs). Discuss the sexual past with the partner and enquire about theirs. Before engaging in sexual activity, think about getting tested for STIs together. Always use a condom during intercourse to avoid contracting STIs.

  • Maintain Health: Exercise, a healthy diet, and routine preventive care visits to the doctor are all important for maintaining health and warding off disease.


Sexual issues associated with aging can be stressful and upsetting. Our body's weight, skin, and muscle tone change as we age, and some older folks do not feel at ease with their aging bodies. Men and women of a certain age may be concerned that their spouses may no longer find them appealing. This anxiety can prevent one from having a satisfying sex life. It is important to discuss concerns with a partner or a therapist. Also, sex life is meaningful for all ages. Being tagged as a ‘boomer’ does not mean being deprived of sex life.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Sexual Changes in the Old Age?

With age, the sexual response of a person starts to slow down, usually after the age of 50. However, the sexual drive is mostly affected by the health of a person and the behavior of the person with respect to sex or intimacy. In males, it may take longer to get an erection, and more time would be needed in between the erections.


Does Sexual Attraction Decrease With Age?

Aging brings significant physical changes in the human body that sometimes may also interfere with the ability to have and enjoy sex. With age, body changes include skin, weight, and muscle tone. Females usually experience a drop in sexual desire in their late 40s and early 50s, and for older men, this shift may not happen until their 60s and 70s.


What Age-Related Changes Do Men Experience Sexually?

It is natural for men to experience sex-related changes with aging. With age, there is a gradual decrease in sexual drive (libido). This can be related to underlying conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The majority of men are able to maintain some amount of sexual desire in the late 60s or 70s.


What Age Is the Sexual Urge the Highest?

The sexual urge or libido tends to be highest at the age of 20s. In the case of females, it increases as the fertility declines, and the libido decreases after a female attains menopause. In females, sexual desire is found to be found at its peak during their 30s, and in males, it is usually in their 20s which declines with age.


How to Make a Penis Harder?

To strengthen erections and make the penis harder, some of the following steps can be done, such as -
- Doing kegel exercises.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Stop smoking.


What Is a Normal Time to Release Sperm?

There is no specific time of ejaculation as some men ejaculate within a few seconds, or some may ejaculate after a few minutes. However, the time can be increased by doing some lifestyle changes. The average time of ejaculation is considered to be five and a half minutes, and men who ejaculate within a few seconds of penetration may have premature ejaculation.


Why Does a Man Get an Erection in the Morning?

The early morning erection is usually due to high testosterone levels, as its level is highest in the morning after a male wakes up. It is highest after a person wakes up from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This hormone activates the nerves that stimulate the smooth muscles of the penis, increasing the blood supply in the interior of the penis.


What Happens if a Man Goes Too Long Without Ejaculating?

In some cases, men tend to choose not to ejaculate for a long time. This may cause some harmful side effects to the body. Not ejaculating may trigger psychological problems, such as people may start to experience sexual dysfunctions that may affect their ability to ejaculate. This may also lead to problems in their relationships.


How to Increase Stamina in Bed?

Sexual performance can be enhanced by following steps -
- Doing regular exercise to increase overall stamina.
- Spend more time on foreplay.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight.
- Get good quality sleep.
- Have a protein-rich diet.


How to Get Healthy Sperm?

A person can follow some of the following steps to increase their chance of producing healthy sperm which include -
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Following healthy sexual practices and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
- Managing stress.
- Doing regular physical exercise.
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Dr. Ramchandra Lamba
Dr. Ramchandra Lamba



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