Sex after 50

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Growing older is a natural and exciting part of life. Just as people age so does the body. Being mindful of the natural changes your body goes through is an important part of learning how to promote your sexual health and the sexual health of your partner.

Natural changes in the body can mean different things for how to protect yourself. Understanding the changes your body is going through can help you have a healthy sex life as you age. Keep in mind that everyone's body is different and may age differently:

Men

Women

New medications to improve sexual functioning have become popular among men. A study in 2007 found that 14% of men over the age 57 used medications for erectile difficulties.

While women leave their reproductive years once they experience menopause, men's reproductive years never end. Men continue to produce sperm (in lesser amounts) as they grow older. So men with younger partners who have not yet gone through menopause must still talk about pregnancy and contraception.

But what about after menopause (or after a vasectomy or sterilation procedure)? Once pregnancy is no longer a concern? Why should women and men still use condoms during sex even if they don't need to worry about pregnancy? Because they are still able to get sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs). Your risk of contracting STDs/STIs is a possibility at any point in your life during which you are sexually active, and this risk does not go down with age.

Imagine this--Helen who is only 60 was married to Stan for more than 30 years when he died. About four years after Stan died, an old friend who Helen hadn't heard from in more than 20 years contacted her. They were always fond of each other so when they both found themselves without a partner, they started dating. Months later, they started sleeping together. Before long Helen felt different, and she was worried. She went to her doctor who tested her and then told her she had HIV. It seems Stan's last partner had HIV and hadn't yet been diagnosed.

According to the CDC, people aged 50 and older accounted for:

In addition, chlamydiagenital herpesgenital wartsgonorrhea and syphilis among older people have nearly doubled from 1996 to 2003. You can reduce your risk for HIV and other STDs/STIs:

SaferSex4Seniors

Looking for more information on the unique challenges, opportunities and joy of sex and intimacy in the later years? SaferSex4Seniors.org, developed by an independent collective of professional sexuality educators, researchers, authors, trainers, counsellors and therapists whose mission is to provide better education and information to ensure sexual intimacy between older adults is as safe as possible, offers a wealth of information on sex, sexual health an seniors. Safer sex, as their PSA below shows, is for all ages.