Does sex really get worse with age?

Pop culture often feeds us the idea that sex is something which peaks in your twenties and then begins its drastic downward spiral. Let's look at how true that really is.

BY THE ROAM TEAM 7 MIN READ

WORDS TO KNOW
Erectile dysfunction

The inability to have and maintain an erection, or a weaker, less enlarged erection.

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Society tells us that each wrinkle, each stiff joint, each step on the path to aging takes us further away from the ‘ideal’ sex life and closer to two rocking chairs in front of the fireplace. We go from squeaky beds, sweaty sheets, and piles of condoms to, well, installing a filing cabinet in our home offices. Or lemon and ginger tea. Pick your poison.

Sex does change with age. But the sex you have will take on many forms over the course of a lifetime, and the progress isn’t linear. And that’s the exciting part.

The art of sex

If we think of sex as a skill, it makes sense that it would get better over time. Confidence, maturity, self-love, and experience all contribute to a healthy and varied sex life, and those are things which come with age. We need to stray away from the idea that youth is the defining factor when it comes to sex and sexiness. As we get older, we usually have more time, more sexual knowledge, and less fear of accidentally making a baby.

We tend to know more about ourselves and what we enjoy as we get older, too, and we’re less fearful of communicating that to sexual partners. Openness, honesty, and experimentation in sex is something that significantly improves with age.

Sex and ageing

Of course, physical changes in the body equate to physical changes when it comes to sex.

The vagina might become narrower and shorter with age, and the vaginal walls become stiffer. It also takes longer for the vagina to naturally lubricate which can make sex painful. There are (effective) remedies, though. Vaginal lubricants alleviate discomfort and duplicate your natural wetness, and prolonged foreplay is never a bad idea when it comes to increased arousal.


For those who menstruate, menopause affects the libido in different ways and it’s really dependent on the individual and their body’s reaction to hormonal changes. It could cause sex drive to increase or decrease, and hormone replacement therapy in middle age is actually reported to boost sex drive.

For people with penises, erectile dysfunction (the inability to have and maintain an erection, or a weaker, less enlarged erection) is more common with age. But there are medications that deal with ED, as well as lifestyle changes that can be implemented, like drinking less alcohol and doing more exercise.

Myth busting moment: ED doesn’t happen as a direct result of aging, but as a result of health problems that become more likely as you get older.

Generally, things like arthritis, forms of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, incontinence, and certain medications can negatively affect your sex life, and they do become more common with age. But that’s not the be-all-end -all of sexual health! The body is a machine and, however well oiled, it will get rustier with time. These are extreme cases, and several sexual issues can be successfully treated with sexual products and medications.

Body and mind

It’s not just the body that’s susceptible to physical changes. Your sexual identity is never fixed and may change as you get older. Think Grace and Frankie, whose husbands are well into the senior stage of their lives when they come out as gay and reveal their relationship. Sexual discoveries aren’t confined to the first quarter or even first half of your life.

Stay present as your attitude to sex and sexuality fluctuates and embrace the winds in the road to self-discovery.

Moving forward

All you can do is keep your body as healthy as you can and stay aware of when things start to feel off. This goes for general life, not just sex. Physical and mental ailments can affect sex regardless of age so at any stage of your life, mindfulness and patience are crucial when it comes to adapting to and understanding your changing body and changing sex life. Be open and communicative with your partner, don’t place pressure or blame on yourself for experiencing difficulties, remember that sex shouldn’t follow a set pattern, it should accommodate your desires and your abilities.

Get excited! Sex is fun and there is a lot of it to look forward to. Don’t mourn or idolise the sex life of your twenties - chances are, you were just scratching the surface.

To the future

If you’re still itching to know what your sex life will look like 30 years on, simply consider what it’s like now. However important sex is to your life right now is likely to be reflected in the future. Sex, sex drive, and sexiness don’t just fade. They persist and thrive if only you’ll allow them to.

With love and lube,

The Roam Team



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