As you’re asking yourself what’s typical for your sex drive when you’re over 50, let’s start with the numbers. What’s the average number of times couples over 50 have sex per month? Looking into the archives of sexual behavior, you’ll find that this varies!
Sex drive when you’re over 50—the numbers
One survey done by the dating app Lumen found that among American adults aged 50 to 80:
- 27% had sex at least once a month
- 37% did not have sex anymore
- 22% said they’d become more adventurous in bed with age, and 8% much more adventurous
- Among singles, 14% would have sex on a first date, and 30% within three dates
- 16% of women said their libido has increased with age
- 51% said they plan to have sex until they literally can’t do it anymore
Another study from AARP found that 31% of older couples (couples over 50) had sex several times a week, 28% had sex a couple of times per month, and 8% had sex at least once a month. So that leaves about 33% of couples who have sex less than once per month.
Looking at other studies, one found that nearly half of all Americans have sex at least once a month. And about 35% of sexually active couples have sex at least twice per month. However, only about 25% of people 75 - 85 years old are sexually active. As for the UK, one study found that at least half of all couples in a serious relationship have sex less than once a week.
These numbers indicate that it’s as “normal” to have sex several times a week as it is not to have sex at all if you’re a 50-year-old man or woman.
It’s fair to say that sex drive declines with age. However, this decline is individual, and there isn't any such thing as the "average adult." Furthermore, the amount of sex people want varies from person to person. Thus, the frequency of sex varies from couple to couple. The trick lies in finding a balance with your partner - you both have to agree on what you want.
Sexual frequency for couples shouldn't be about what's "normal" or expected but what's right for you. Your sexual satisfaction is a relationship matter, so you need to tell your partner if you feel you're having too little or too much sex or if you're having sex that's not satisfactory for other reasons.
Studies have shown that married people share physical intimacy, not just sexual intimacy. So let's look at how to be more intimate and have more and better sex, should you want it.
Sexual desire and intimacy
Nobody will want to jump in the sack unless they feel intimate with you. Bah, you might say — that's only women. Not true. Women may need more emotional intimacy than men, who often respond more to physical intimacy. Still, a man whose wife or male partner nags is usually not feeling up for a romp in the bedroom.
Likewise, if your partner never tells you or shows they desire you, you won’t feel like having sex.
To create a satisfying sex life, you must work on your overall intimacy, willingness to compliment your partner and show them you desire them, and your own sexual desire and libido.
Dr. Patti Britton, clinical sexologist and “Mother of Sex Coaching”, told Age Times: "Sex is more than acrobatics. It involves the whole person. Find out who you are as a sexual being, then share that with a partner if you choose. Masturbation is the foundation for all partnered sex and is a beautiful outlet for your energies. Keep sexually alive throughout your lifetime."
Emotional intimacy and happiness
To ensure you have a healthy relationship with your partner, ask yourself how much you compliment them and nag them. Emotional intimacy is created when we feel safe around our partner—safe that they value us more than they criticize us.
For the next four weeks, challenge yourself to stop all nagging and compliment them daily. Compliment their looks, personality, and any action they perform that you appreciate. Actions may range from them cooking a meal to them being entertaining at a dinner party or picking up someone's groceries at the supermarket after they fell to the floor.
If you feel the need to nag your partner for not doing something or explain why something upset you, take a deep breath. Then tell them about something they've done that you appreciate. This will also help you remember why you don't want to blow your fuse. After that, ask them what they did that upset you or what they failed to do that they should have done. Stress why it's important to you.
When they follow through on doing the right thing, hug or kiss them, and thank them profusely. They're more likely to do something again if this is how you handle requests!
To further improve intimacy, set quality time aside where you focus on one another. This is not about going shopping together, but going out and doing things you both enjoy. This could be hiking or going for a weekend away. It could be setting time to visit the farmer's markets you both love and then cooking a meal together. It could be going to the museum or attending a theater show. It should definitely involve going on date nights together. Trying new things can further add some spice to your life. This is extremely important if you feel your relationship (or life together) has stagnated.
When we have been with someone for a while, we take for granted that we know everything about them. But that's not true—we don't know everything about them.
When conversing with your partner, consider that you don't know how they feel that day or how they've changed since yesterday. So get curious about them. Ask them about things. What are their goals? Dreams? Desires? What do they fear? What would they like to change in their lives? What would they like to experience? What are they unhappy with? What are they happy with?
Lastly, tell your partner you love them. Spell it out. Give them gifts and offer to help them with tasks. Spend time with them and compliment them. Hold their hand and hug them.
Increasing sexual desire
Once you feel emotionally close to your partner, it's easier to improve physical and sexual intimacy and sexual desire.
Remember the bit about compliments above? Make a point to tell your partner whenever they look nice or smell nice, wear something sexy, or do something attractive. Tell them about how you desire them and why. When people feel wanted, they open up to having sex.
When your partner does something in the bedroom that you enjoy, tell them. That will make them glow. They’ll feel appreciated and want to do it again.
You also need to speak about what you enjoy and don't enjoy in the bedroom and new things you might want to try out. This is a lot easier if a partner feels there is emotional intimacy and that they are loved. It is also easier if they feel desired and know you already appreciate what they do in the bedroom. But, again, you must tell them how much you want them and compliment them whenever they do something you enjoy in bed.
A healthy sex life can easily be created when you both feel appreciated, desired, and supported by each other. You’ll usually have the best sex when your relationship is at its healthiest.
Another thing that can improve your sex life and sexual desire is physical intimacy. If you think older people don’t need physical intimacy, think again. The study mentioned above from AARP discovered that most happy couples regularly kiss passionately. In addition, holding hands, hugging, giving each other massages, and simply caressing one another occasionally also increases physical intimacy. This, in turn, can lead to improved sexual intimacy. It also helps turn you on and increase your passion.
Of course, also remember to set the mood. Date nights are great for that. And if you and your partner lead busy lives but want regular sex, you might have to schedule sex. A more polite way of putting it is simply setting time aside to explore each other - through date nights, experiences, and sex. There needs to be a scheduled time to do so, or you will have less sex, whether you like it or not.
Causes for low sex drive
If you feel your libido has gone down the drain, sex is unlikely to excite you. While a sex therapist can help you get to the bottom of why you no longer feel like partaking in sexual activity, there are some common root causes for losing your sex drive:
- An unhealthy lifestyle—lack of healthy foods, exercise, and sleep
- Consuming too much alcohol or drugs
- An unhappy relationship with your partner
- Feeling undesired by your partner
- A negative change in body image
- Hormone changes during menopause
- A lack of self-confidence
- Sexual boredom—not experiencing anything new in the bedroom
- Sexual issues such as pain during sex, erectile dysfunction (whether due to age, leading an unhealthy lifestyle, having a poor body image, or low self-confidence), or vaginal dryness (which is a common side effect of menopause—lubrication can be achieved with a good lubricant)
- Unhealthy thoughts surrounding sex due to an emotionally abusive partner, past trauma, or other cause
Improving sex drive
Generally speaking, to get in the mood, you have to lead a happy and healthy life. When you feel good about yourself, you feel empowered and sexy. By putting your well-being first, you also improve your sex drive. Below are some things that might help improve your sex drive:
- Exercise for twenty to thirty minutes per day (do cardio and strength exercises on alternating days)
- Meditate and do breathing exercises for ten minutes per day to lower stress levels
- Go to bed at the same time every night and ensure you turn off the lights a little while beforehand to increase the production of melatonin (if you have problems sleeping, consider eating things that raise your levels of tryptophan and drink herbal teas that—over time—will help with sleep, such as a blend of lemon balm, mint, chamomile, passion flowers, valerian, lavender and, possibly, CBD but always check with your GP first)
- Eat a whole foods diet—avoid refined and processed foods, including sugar (opt for honey instead)
- At least once a week, go for a long walk in nature
- Fill your calendar with things that enrich your life—away from your partner (courses, gym, social events, workshops, book circles, volunteering, whatever it may be that helps you nail your goals and improve your overall enjoyment of life)
- Cut down on alcohol, drugs, and smoking if necessary
- As you eat well and exercise, start thinking of your body as your temple and give thanks for what your body provides you with—maybe get some massages and start using all-natural body products to make yourself feel good (and realize that everyone ages and get wrinkles, loose skin, age spots and all the other adorable signs of a life well-lived)
- Try dressing up and enjoying looking and feeling good about yourself—get a makeover if you feel like you need one
- See a doctor to check ALL vitamin levels and do a regular checkup, plus check hormone levels if going through menopause and talk with a doctor if you have erectile dysfunction or suffer from pain during sex
- See a sex therapist if you have any fears, inhibitions, or other issues surrounding sex
- Follow the tips in this article to improve your relationship with your partner and dare to explore new things in the bedroom to spice things up
- If you are feeling depressed, you should definitively exercise, get enough sleep at regular times, spend time outdoors, engage in social activities, and follow a healthy diet to increase the amount of "feel good" chemicals your brain releases, but you should also speak with a psychologist
Consult the specialists
If you've tried all the above and still can't improve your libido, check with your GP that there are no underlying health issues. You could also speak with a certified sex therapist for ideas on how to improve your sex life. Finally, if a sexless marriage or relationship is making you suffer, you need to do something about it.
Sex and your well-being
Did you know that there are health benefits to having sex? It can improve your overall mental and physical well-being and your relationship with your partner and help you de-stress! However, a lack of sex isn't always a problem—so long as you think you're getting enough sex, and your partner thinks they're getting enough sex, things are fine. There is no exact science as to how often you should have sex, no matter what age group you are in.
Even if you don’t want more sex, you can still do many of the above things to improve your relationship. A lack of sex should not lead to a lack of intimacy—you still need to foster that. And if you’re longing for more sex, I hope this article will inspire you to improve your sexual health and well-being and try new sexual experiences.