10 Stereotypes About Aging (That Just Aren't True)


Older People Aren't Interested in Sex or Intimacy

It's hard for some younger people to think that their parents and even their grandparents are having sex -- and enjoying it. But don't take our word for it. In several comprehensive surveys, older adults described their sex lives in intimate detail. The findings include:

  • Positive sexual relationships were found to be associated with overall well-being. Whether one caused the other wasn't clear [source: Law].
  • Individuals' sexual activity remained constant until about age 70. Normal changes due to aging and age-related health problems were obstacles in older age [source: University of Chicago].
  • While most respondents ages 70 and over said that sex was less important as people age, only about 35 percent said that sex is only for married couples, and less than 10 percent said it's only for the young.
  • Of this same group, most felt that their partners find them physically attractive. They praised their partners as loving and gentle, although very few called them exciting or imaginative.
  • Women ranked sex as less important to relationships and to overall quality of life than men did. That may be because women are more likely to outlive their spouses, and older widows may feel less interested in starting a new intimate relationship. And older women outnumber older men, leaving fewer potential partners [source: Fisher].
  • Most respondents hadn't talked to their doctor about sex since age 50. Researchers think that with better information, older adults might enjoy more rewarding relationships [source: University of Chicago].