How older adults express sexuality?

Sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. Sexuality at an older age can be experienced in different ways depending on factors like health, physical condition, attitudes, relationship status, communication, etc.

Older adults experience sexual life in different ways and levels like the rest of the people.


Expressing sexuality as an older adult

A study from 2012 (1) revealed that 70-84% of countries report sexual activity in older adults but consider sexuality not purely just as intercourse, but as multiple types of intimacy.

Adults in the USA who reported some kind of sexual practice (which may also include fondling, kissing, hugging, personal attractiveness, taking evening walks, companionship, communication, and romanticism):

  • 67% of men and 40% of women aged 65–74.
  • 38% of men and 17% of women aged 75–85.


Data based on research from 2020 (2), helped understand how older adults express sexuality. The research was based on 495 participants between the age of 65 to 98 years old.

Being in a relationship and relationship satisfaction are some of the ways sexual expression may be enhanced. As well as those with information and positive attitudes about sex.

As said sexuality is affected by multiple factors including physical health and condition, medicine intake, hormones levels, etc. Older adults with good physical health may be able to enjoy more years of sexual activity compared to those with poor health. Physical changes associated with aging, such as the declining function of the ovaries and the slow decline in testosterone production may also affect sexual expression.

An interesting fact shows that one of the main reasons why women have less sexual activity than men is linked to the lack of available sexual partners later in life.

If there is one thing that is clear, it is that aging can bring experiences or opportunities more appropriate to what you are looking for. Whether that is having a different type of intimacy or discovering a “new” sexuality.


Discovering sexuality at an older age

You may have never considered before being with someone of the same gender, or you may have but never had the chance to experience it. Discovering your sexuality is something common that happens through ours live whether you do it at a younger or older age.

When you discover at an older age that you’re attracted to a different gender than you used to, it can be shocking or confusing. Sexuality can be fluid and you can suddenly feel attracted or fall in love with someone of the same gender as you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You may find inspiring stories from others who have experienced similar feelings to you, that had to come out when they were at an older age or had to deal with confusion or stereotypes.

Stories about: Older Adults on Coming Out Later in Life and Changing Sexual Preference with Age