Sexual Health

Basic Facts

Everyone needs to understand how sex changes with age so they can continue to enjoy their sex life. Here are a couple examples.

Sexual activity decreases with age:

  • Among people age 57 to 65 years, 62 percent of women and 85 percent of men had sex the year before.
  • Among people age 75 to 85, 17 percent of women and 39 percent of men reported sexual activity. About half of those with a partner were still sexually active.

Sexual problems occur more often:

  • Among women age 75 to 85 years old who were sexually active, half lacked interest in sex, 44 percent had vaginal lubrication problems, and 12 percent had pain during sex. 
  • By age 70, 67 percent of men have problems getting or keeping an erection.

Sexual Concerns for Older Adults

  • Sexual performance problems
  • Pain during sex
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Loss of excitement, pleasure or orgasm (sexual peak)
  • Less frequent sex
  • Physical obstacles arising from diseases or health conditions

Sadly, most older adults do not feel comfortable talking about sexual problems with their healthcare providers. However, a good sex life is an important part of healthy aging.

A healthcare provider can guide you towards treatments which can improve sex life, and identify other conditions that might be contributing to problems with sexual activity.

You may benefit from the care of an expert therapist trained to help you achieve a satisfying sex life as you age. A therapist can be identified on the website of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can find a list of providers on the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association website.


Last Updated May 2023

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