Older Adults: Tips to Spice Up Your Sex Life

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 16, 2021
4 min read

Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean it’s over.

“I have a graphic that says, ‘Old people have sex. Get over it,” says Joan Price, a 77-year-old award-winning author, public speaker, and educator specializing in senior sex. “There’s no expiration date on sexuality, but many people let it go because their bodies don’t work the way they did before. Instead, we can adapt, invent, and recreate exciting sex, and relax into it in a whole new way.”

When you were younger, hormones drove sex. As you age, your hormone levels decline.

In men, this means lower levels of testosterone.

You may notice:

  • Shorter orgasms
  • Weaker ejaculation and less semen output
  • You need more stimulation to get and maintain an erection
  • You need more time to have another erection after you ejaculate

In women, estrogen levels drop before and after menopause.

You may notice:

Medical conditions and illness, medication, and surgery can affect your sexual health, and so can your body image.

“Some people say, ‘Oh no, how can anyone want me with all these wrinkles?’ or ‘I can’t have sex because my erections are unreliable,’” Price says. “But sex can be better at this time of life than it ever was because we know ourselves. We know what we need and what we want in sex and life.”

Communication is the only one-size-fits-all sex tip for everyone at any age.

“Older people were not taught to talk about sex or even acknowledge sexual pleasure and what they need,” Price says. “We didn’t learn to tell someone, ‘I’d really love if you do this instead.’”

Whether you’ve been with your partner since dinner or for decades, no one can read your mind. Things that felt good when you were younger may not feel good now. Don’t fake it: Learn loving ways to say what you need.

“Acknowledge where we are mentally and physically,” Price suggests. “Say, ‘I can’t hold this position because it hurts my knees, back, or neck,’ or ‘We need to have a threesome with a sex toy right now because I can’t have an orgasm without it.’”

Because a lack of hormones makes it more difficult to reach orgasm as you get older, you may not cross the finish line in the same way you did before. But you can still enjoy the ride.

“Sex is better when it’s not goal oriented. We can relax into the pleasure of the sensation,” Price says. “Take out the expectation that sex has to be intercourse. There are many other ways to give and receive pleasure and sensation -- and maybe orgasms -- rather than to have this one sex act you always thought was ‘real sex.’”

As you age, a sex toy isn’t just an enhancement; it can be the difference between having an orgasm or not. Price, who also reviews sex toys, says there are many wonderful toys out there for both partners.

A good sex toy should be strong enough for your aging body, but should build in intensity instead of going from zero to 100 mph. It should also be:

  • Able to work for a long time without losing its charge
  • Easily rechargeable
  • Made of body-safe materials
  • Comfortable to hold for long periods of time
  • Slim (Price says aging vaginas “aren’t as welcoming of girth”)

Perhaps most important, your sex toy should be something you can control easily by look or feel. “There’s nothing less sexy than fumbling for your glasses so you can see the controls on your sex toy,” Price says.

Your go-to position may not feel good anymore.

“Instead of ‘try a new position,’ I encourage people to find the position that’s the most comfortable for you -- the one that enables you to focus on the pleasurable sensation without any aches or pains,” Price says. “You can explore new positions for novelty, then settle back into the position that’s most comfortable for you.”

Role play gives you the freedom to say anything, do anything, and be anyone. Up-front communication with your partner sets you up for success. Start with questions like these:

  • Should we role play one fantasy at a time? Or come up with one together?
  • Name something that turns you on just to think about, even if you’d never do it in real life?
  • If we tried to role play what you just described, what part would you want me to play and how would you want me to play it?

If your partner isn’t comfortable with it, you can always role play in your mind.

“Our main sex organ is our brain,” Price says. “You can role play in your fantasy without anyone knowing. It’s not a betrayal of what you’re doing with your partner; it’s an enhancement to what you’re doing with your partner.”

If you consume younger erotica, you may be more depressed than aroused. Consider age-appropriate porn, magazines, books, or websites.

“Older people are already self-conscious about how they’re limited by the aging process, including aches, pains, and the inability to do things the way they used to,” Price says. “To celebrate age, not just acknowledge it, is a wonderful way to stay sexy and zesty as we get older.”