We tend to believe that sex is for the young and beautiful. At least, that’s what movies and TV would like us to believe.

But sexual health experts have found that the quality of one’s sex life improves with age, determining that people enter their prime in their 40s and can continue to enjoy more pleasurable sex through their 60s and beyond.

There are several aspects at play, sex therapists have determined, that elevate mature adults’ love lives.

Mid-life and older adults tend to be less focused on what they would have been concerned or embarrassed about in their younger years, from cellulite to body hair. And they become more sexually aware with age and therefore are more willing to voice their preferences to their partner.

Married couples, such as Jill and Joe Biden, who said good sex is the key to their strong marriage of 47 years, have better sex than their younger counterparts who may focus more on dating, one-night stands and flings – often at the expense of true emotional and physical intimacy.

And a better sex life has effects far beyond the bedroom. Research has shown it improves overall health and boosts endorphins, cardiac function, mood, sleep and general energy levels. 

Much to wife Dr Jill Biden's chagrin, President Joe Biden has said the key to their strong marriage is a healthy sex life

Much to wife Dr Jill Biden’s chagrin, President Joe Biden has said the key to their strong marriage is a healthy sex life

@thelaylamartin

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♬ original sound – Layla Martin

One of the major factors of an improved love life: Self confidence and self awareness. These tend to increase with maturity, so older people have fewer hang-ups than the average 20-year-old.

London-based couple’s counselor Tara Saglio said: ‘By the time they’re older, people have usually come to terms with many of their insecurities about body image.

‘They’re also likely to have less performance anxiety. The worries all men and women have — am I boring in bed? Do I look OK? Too hairy? – are less acute.’

Researchers have found that, while the frequency of sex declines with age, older people do remain sexually active – and while the number of times you’re doing the horizontal tango decreases, the pleasure you experience in each session increases.

A 2023 report in the Lancet found 86 percent of men and 60 percent of women aged 60 to 69 are sexually active, as are 59 percent of men and 34 percent of women aged 70 to 79.

Nearly a third of men and 14 percent of women 80 and older are still romping in between the sheets.

Author of the report Janie Steckenrider, an aging and sexuality expert at Loyola Marymount University in California said: ‘The first misconception is that older adults are neither sexually active nor interested in sex, so there is no reason to ask them about their sexual health.

‘Interest in sex in this population is evidently high; in the American Association of Retired Persons’ Healthy Aging Poll of individuals aged 65–80 years, two-thirds said they were interested in sex and more than 50 percent said sex was important to their quality of life.’

People may assume otherwise given the aging-related drop in hormones over time. Testosterone levels peak in young adulthood for males, around age 20, but decline by about 1 percent annually after age 30. 

And as women in their 40s near menopause, estrogen levels drop, which may cool down their libido. 

But thanks to the advent of erectile dysfunction drugs, most famous among them being Viagra for men, as well a treatments for low libido in premenopausal women such as Vyleesi (bremelanotide) and Addyi (flibanserin), many older adults are able to have fulfilling, healthy sex lives.  

Surveys of older adults have consistently found they tend to enjoy sex more. A person may feel better about their body at 60 or 70 than their did in their 20s. That self-assurance makes sex feel more freeing, exciting and satisfying.

Dating site OkCupid conducted a survey in 2011 and found 30 to 35 percent of women in their 20s had difficulty reaching orgasm, compared to about 20 percent of women in their late 40s and 50s.

Layla Martin, a sex therapist who offers educational seminars about improving couples’ sex lives, said: ‘One of the biggest lies that we have been told about aging is that sex gets worse with age or even drops off a cliff.

‘My teachers have been in their 60s, my besties are in their 60s and truly without exception, they are like “this is the best, the hottest, the most epic, most magnetic era of my life.”‘

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK found roughly 80 percent of men over 50 are satisfied with their sex lives, while 85 percent of sexually active women between the ages of 60 to 69 are satisfied with theirs.

The most satisfied people tend to be married couples. 

There’s a large divide between attempting something in bed that you think your partner will enjoy versus doing what you know your partner will like.

That kind of knowledge is gained over time in a mutually trusting relationship.

What’s more, knowing what your partner likes is enough to rev up someone’s sexual engine.

Dr David Lee, a research fellow at the University of Manchester, said: ‘There’s this misconception that sex belongs to young people. 

‘The reactions of the young to older people having sex range from humor and disgust to disbelief that [people] over 50 are having it at all.

‘But our study breaks down these generational barriers. Even though the frequency of sexual declines as we grow older, sex remains an important part of our lives. It doesn’t stop or go away, it just changes.’

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