Aging and sex

How to Have a Fulfilling Sex Life After 50

Published: JUNE 5, 2024

There’s a vast misconception that older adults don’t have sex. But the statistics say otherwise. According to findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, conducted in 2018, 76% of older adults believe that sex is an integral part of romantic relationships at any age, with 40% of respondents reporting that they are sexually active. 


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While it’s clear that sex doesn’t end in the latter stages of life, some older adults may struggle with finding ways to spice up their sex lives or keep the spark alive. Sometimes things just dull out over time, sometimes there are health problems that detract from sexual experiences. But the challenges aren't a reason to give up on sex altogether. You can have an amazing sex life, no matter what stage of life you're in.

What are the health benefits of having sex?  

Before we dive into the practical advice, let's talk about why you should still be having sex after 50.

Aside from it being a fun, intimate activity, sex also has several health benefits, including “stress relief, sleep facilitation, pain relief, improved mood, stronger immune system, and improved connection with a partner," says Suzannah Weiss, resident sexologist for Fleshy, and an AASECT-certified sex educator and sex and love coach. “There’s also data showing that older women are at lower risk for hypertension if they remain sexually active later in life.”


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The benefits can vary for women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) and men or people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Sex can support people who are AFAB to strengthen their pelvic muscles, which can help with urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control). According to one research study, people who are AMAB may lower the risk of prostate cancer by ejaculating with a partner or from masturbation.

So, do it for your health!

Sex Tips for Older Adults 

If you’re a sexually active older adult who wants to revamp your sex life and take your bedroom performance to the next level, we've got you covered. Here are some of the best tips we gathered from the experts.


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Make it fun

Don’t be afraid to switch things up to keep sex exciting.

“We have to make it fun again, and ways to make it fun are to take some of the work out of it and flip the work to play,” says Amy Pearlman, MD, a board-certified urologist and member of FirmTech’s Scientific Advisory Board. 

For older men struggling with erectile dysfunction, Dr. Pearlman has a few suggestions to make sex more fun and less work.


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“For some men, it becomes a lot of work to get an erection to engage in sexual activities, and it starts to become a chore,” she explains. “If we can use different tools to make it easier like oral medication (my go-to is tadalafil) and/or a penile constriction band to keep the blood in the penis (FirmTech MaxPR can be easily applied and removed), we can make it easier, and oftentimes more enjoyable, for people to engage in sexual activity throughout their entire lifespan.”

Don’t rush the experience

Take the time to enjoy the intimate experience with your partner(s).

“Don’t rush toward the finish line,” Weiss says. “Focus on connecting with your partner or yourself and lovingly touching your partner’s body and/or your own.”


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Learn how to stimulate your brain

Believe it or not, sex after fifty isn't just about stimulating your body. Stimulating your brain can actually improve your sex life as an older adult.

“Since the brain is one of the most important sex organs, discovering ways to sexually stimulate the brain will help with initiating blood flow and stimulation of the genitals,” says Betsy Greenleaf, DO, FACOOG, FACOG, a member of plusOne Wellness Collective. “The brain likes novelty, which helps to boost dopamine and aid with excitement. Thus, finding ways to add novelty into one’s sexual practice becomes important over time and especially in long-term relationships.”

So, grab that daily crossword puzzle or your Sudoku book and get... stimulated.


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Stay hydrated

Yeah, we all know drinking enough water is good for you, but did you know it can benefit you in the bedroom? Being properly hydrated can increase blood flow, allowing people with penises to maintain an erection.

So, if you have ED, be sure to drink enough fluids, preferably water, to stay erect during sex.

Communicate

It is essential to communicate your sexual desires with your partner(s) and for them to do the same. Being open and honest with your partner(s) can create more intimacy and sexual satisfaction. It can also help with sexual performance. Research shows that effective communication between partners about erectile function might improve sexual arousal in men and people with penises. 

Read More: Sex Communication 101

Best Sex Positions for Older Adults 

As you get older, you may find that you just can't get into the same sex positions you did when you were younger. Older age can mean frailer bodies that may be more prone to injury, especially if you're trying certain sex positions. Additionally, it's important to consider health conditions that limit your ability to get into a particular position.

But that doesn't mean you're doomed to missionary for the rest of your life (unless you love missionary, in which case, go for it!). You might just need to tweak your techniques to ensure both you and your partner have a safe and enjoyable sexual experience.

To get you started, here are the best sex positions for older adults, according to the experts:

Cowgirl

The Cowgirl position involves the person with the penis lying flat on their back while the receiving partner with a vagina sits or kneels on top with their legs on either side of the person lying down. 

“In cis-gendered intimacy with penetrative sex, [people with vaginas] often feel more in control of their comfort if they are on top of a partner [with a penis],” Dr. Greenleaf says. “This gives the woman the ability to adjust and start and stop and listen to her body.” 

Weiss also adds that this may help older people with vaginal dryness.

“Those who experience vaginal dryness or irritation might prefer being on top because they get to control the speed and depth of penetration so that it’s comfortable for them,” she says.

Standing Up

This is one of the safe sex positions for older adults in which the penetrating partner stands behind the receiving partner while both facing the same position. The receiving partner can bend over and spread their legs for easier penetration or keep their legs together. 

If you or your partner has ED, this position can improve erectile function.

“Some people with difficulty maintaining an erection in older age find that it is easier to do so if they are standing up,” Weiss says. 

Spooning

Ton try the Spooning position, both partners lie on their sides in a cuddling position, with the receiving partner having their back against the penetrative partner. Both partners rock their hips to reach orgasm. 

Dr. Greenleaf recommends this position if you or your partner have arthritis pain.

“Lying in a side-to-side position with legs straight can take pressure off hips and back,” she says.

Read More: The Best Sex Positions for Hip Pain

Sex Toys for Older Adults 

If you want to introduce some toys into the bedroom, check out some of these sex toys, which are enjoyable at literally any age. 

Magic Wand Plus

Vibrators are accessible sex toys that can improve your sexual experience as an older adult.

“Vibrators can be really helpful for accelerating arousal, lubrication, and orgasm, which in turn makes sex more pleasurable and comfortable,” Weiss says. “I often recommend the Hitachi Magic Wand for those seeking powerful vibrators.”

The Magic Wand is a rechargeable vibrator with four vibration speeds. It is a corded massager with a soft, plush head and flexible neck.  

Sportsheets Door Jam Sex Sling

Sex swings are sexual aids that can provide additional support when engaging in certain sex positions. Sex swings are also a great way for you and your partner(s) to explore new positions. 

This sex swing attaches to your door frame and has a wide padded seat that supports the majority of your or your partner’s body weight. It has hand grips and footrests, so you have comfortable places to rest your body. The swing also has a removable dildo pad that fits any standard flared-based dildo for extra fun. 

OhNut Vibrating Ring

“Cock rings can also be very helpful for those experiencing erectile difficulties to get and maintain an erection,” Weiss says. “Those who experience pain with deep penetration can use a toy called the OhNut that goes around the penis to effectively shorten it.”

This ring has seven vibration patterns and intensities and is stretchy enough to move around comfortably. It is rechargeable and takes about 90 minutes to fully charge, allowing for 80 minutes of playtime. 

Liberator Wedge

“People can purchase wedge devices, which can be extremely helpful to take pressure off certain areas of the body and allow that person to be propped up so they can engage in sex,” Dr. Pearlman says.

A wedge can tilt the receiver’s hips to make penetration easier. This product has a 27-degree angle and high-density foam that supports you or your partner’s body weight for a comfortable experience. If you make a mess on the wedge, don't even worry about it. Just toss the removable cover in the washer or use a damp cloth to clean it. 

plusOne Menopause Massager

People going through menopause may experience vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis. This condition causes thinning, drying, and inflammation in the vaginal walls due to less estrogen in the body.

If you or your partner has menopause, a massager can relieve symptoms.  

“The plusOne menopause massager is great for women who want to keep [vaginal] tissue healthy,” Dr. Greenleaf says.

The massager is a heated sex toy that helps relieve symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. It has ten vibration patterns and an ergonomic design that adjusts to the user’s needs. It’s also waterproof, so you can enjoy it in the shower or bath.

The Bottom Line 

Getting older shouldn’t have a significant impact on your sex life. However, it is essential to be aware of how age can affect your body so you can take the proper measures to ensure you and your partner have pain-free and pleasurable sexual experiences. 

“Sex becomes a slower, more sensual, more full-body and full-mind activity when they get older,” Weiss says. “It’s an opportunity to rediscover your sexuality, redefine sex, and deepen your connection with a partner, new or old.”

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Taneia Surles

Taneia Surles, MPH, is a freelance health and wellness writer and public health professional. She holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has bylines in AARP, Health, Healthline, Insider, Parents, Verywell Health, and publications.

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