Never Too Old: Dating, Sex and Being Single After 50

Published: DECEMBER 7, 2016 | Updated: JANUARY 15, 2024
We need to stop making assumptions about the lives of other people - regardless of age.

I don’t really like the word "old," but it’s an attention grabber and people do tend to refer to "old" people when they’re telling us what we should not do, not wear, not say, etc. One of the things our culture assumes about older people is that we aren’t having sex anymore.


Of course we are.

I was having a conversation with a neighbor the other night and we were talking about my being single. I said that I liked having a man in my bed occasionally. She laughed and gave me a high-five.

Why would we not think that older women, just like their male counterparts, want to have sex? And we are. How many? How often? No clue. But we need to stop making assumptions about the lives of other people - regardless of age.


Read: Research Shows Being Single Doesn't Mean Being Unhappy

Online Dating and Sex

I’m thinking about online dating because that’s what I’m doing these days. I write about dating, so I read what other experts are saying about sex. Some of it is a bit too prim and proper for me. Most of them say that having sex too early in a dating relationship is a bad idea. Women are told to delay having sex in new relationships; some version of “save it for marriage.”

What’s wrong with wanting to have sex? We’re not 16 any more. We’re in our 50s and 60s. We’ve had sex before. We understand what’s involved and presumably we’re capable of making sound judgments, right?


There are reasons not to rush into sex, depending on your goals. But what if the whole point of you being on an online dating site is to bring sex and intimacy into your life? If it is, I applaud you. My last article talked about the reasons we should be having sex. Sex is not a bad thing. It’s good for our sexual health and emotional well-being. So, if the goal of online dating for you is to find a sex partner or two, go for it. Use a little caution, practice safe sex and have fun.

What About Long Term Relationships?

What if you’re looking for your next long term relationship? Eventually you want to see how compatible you are in the sex arena. Do you test that out on the first date? That depends. For me, sex is better when I get to know my partner - the sense of trust and ability to communicate my needs is vital. That’s not going to happen on a first date for me.

Sometimes, though, the chemistry is there. The air seems charged with electricity and you find yourself in an embrace that makes you eager for more. Sometimes, sexual chemistry is the only attraction. And then you’re left with that awkward post-sex awareness that you don’t really like that other person!


So, what’s the answer? Think about what you’re looking for in your online dating search and talk about it with prospective dates. See what they’re looking for. If talking about sex feels awkward then having sex will be even more awkward. Being upfront about what you want is always a good idea. Remember, you get to decide what you want, when you want it, and how you want it. It’s particularly important for women to be clear about this and to be prepared to talk about what they want and don’t want. Don’t assume your date is a mind-reader and don’t leave it to them to decide what works best for you.

No matter how "old" you are, sex and dating can be part of life. And my advice is the same: follow your instincts and have fun.

Walker Thornton

Walker Thornton is a 61-year-old sex writer, educator and public speaker. She has ranked in the Kinkly Sex Blogging Superheroes for the last three years. Walker has spoken at national sexuality conferences, speaking on midlife sexuality. She is a member of the Leadership Committee of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University. Walker writes for Midlife Boulevard, Senior Planet and other websites and online magazines. You can connect with her on Facebook...

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