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Recent research, analysing data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, by Manchester University’s School of Social Science fellow Dr David Lee, and Professor Jodie Tetley has found that people over the age of 80 are enjoying an active sex life (2017).
This idea may seem surprising to many younger people, as there is somewhat of a generalisation that there is a point in our lives when we simply stop having sex because of age. Thanks to medical and scientific advances, people are living longer, healthier lifestyles that allow for them to enjoy good sex lives in later life.
People often assume that the term “sex” is limited to penis-in-vagina penetration, when this simply isn’t the case. Sex refers to all aspects of sex play, including mutual masturbation and oral sex.
Having the benefit of longevity on their side, older people in long term relationships, or who have experimented with several partners, have had the opportunity to explore their sexualities in new ways. Learning from experience can help create a good sexual knowledge, and for older people who may not be able to have penetrative sex due to health implications, can use this knowledge to enjoy good sex in alternative ways.
For many people, sex in later life is the first time that they don’t have to consider using contraception. Menopausal women and women beyond the menopause have no fear of getting pregnant without taking the pill or having an IUD.
Couples in which the man has had a vasectomy are also able to have sex without fear of pregnancy too. This freedom can allow for an older couple to have sex as much as they want, whenever they want!
However, older people experimenting with new partners need to be using condoms to prevent STIs from spreading.
Practice makes perfect, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to sex and relationships! That’s not to say that older people have necessarily had sex with lots of people, but with age comes experience.
Exploring your own body through masturbation, whether that be manually or with a sex toy, will allow you to better understand how to achieve an orgasm. You can then pass on this knowledge to your partner during sex play by either showing them or telling them how you like to be touched.
Knowing what works for you or your partner sexually doesn’t happen overnight; overtime, you get to know each other’s bodies and how you like, or dislike, being stimulated.
For those who think retirement years are spent playing golf or taking up knitting, think again!
In his 2014 book Generation Me, Dr Jean Twenge from San Diego State University suggests that younger people work longer hours, often live with their parents for longer or are in a shared housing environment, and are therefore self conscious of being overheard having sex.
This then infers that older people are able to enjoy more sex as they are less likely to live with roommates, and have more time on their hands thanks to retirement. With a greater chance of enjoying sex uninterrupted, this gives older people an opportunity to reconnect with their partners, experiment sexually and maintain a level of intimacy that was previously harder to achieve.
From body image to asking for what you want when it comes to sex, ageing can boost your confidence.
People of any age experiment sexually, but poor sexual knowledge through a lack of sex education or experience could hold someone back. Younger people who are turning to porn for their sex education could be left with a confused understanding of sex and relationships; while older people may not necessarily have a better sex education, the benefit of experience arguably leads to a better understanding of their own bodies and desires.
A new lease of life after retirement may also encourage people to experiment sexually with new positions, sex toys and even bondage. As an older person or couple interested in maintaining a good sex life, having more time to spend exploring new ideas is a great way to spend quality time together.
By encouraging people to talk more openly about sex in a positive way, then perhaps we can finally put the taboo of older people enjoying sex to rest. After all, our oldest customer is 95!