Sex Gets Better With Age?

Couple in bedNovelty is the strongest aphrodisiac for both men and women, but much more for women. If a woman has the desire and knows how to use her femininity and sexuality, she can keep her man sexually engaged indefinitely. Men have a much bigger hurdle to jump because there is really nothing we can do to keep a women in that super horny “porn star” state that they are in at the beginning of a relationship.

That’s from a male commenter who told me that all his friends say the same thing: Women lose interest in sex over time. I don’t doubt that he and his fiends have experienced this. Other men have also asked me why women lose interest in sex after marriage. Sex researchers have also addressed the phenomenon.

Yet a slew of studies also say that sex gets better over time. 

A recent University of San Diego survey of 800 U.S. women found that most felt sexually satisfied and achieved orgasm ‘most of the time’ or ‘always’ — and more often as they aged.

The results echo a University of California, San Diego study.

Sex gets better for British women, too — or at least 89% of them. As the Daily Mail reported:

A survey published today says women over 35 make love more than they did in their twenties.

Not only that, they reckon sex at that age is better than ever…

Some 75% of the women said they were happy with their sex lives. This figure increased to 82% among those currently in a relationship, with the married women seemingly the happiest overall.

Kinsey Institute study of 1,009 hetero couples from five countries — middle-aged or older and in long-term relationships — found that sex got better the longer a couple stayed together.

MSN summarized a few more studies:

According to The New Hite Report (2000), older women are more likely to enjoy more multiple orgasms than younger women. The Pennell study of 2001 found that women’s sexual arousal or capacity to orgasm actually increases with age.

The National Over-45s Sex Survey carried out by Health Plus magazine found that older women are also more adventurous – with 89% admitting they like to vary positions and locations, including the garden. A majority said that sex was better in their 40s than it had been in their 20s.

Looks like sex often gets better with age. And that’s some pretty good news. Yet it doesn’t always happen. What makes the difference? I’ll explore that question in a future post.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 2, 2013, in men, psychology, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I too have heard it from others that sex changes after marriage and more than likely fingers are pointed at the women. But it could be that it is both the male and females fault for possibly becoming to comfortable and not feeling like they have to make an effort to arouse each other therefore they just expect the sex to happen. This is something that can make a woman feel like a “toy” therefore she holds back. It has nothing to do with getting older in my opinion.

    When I think back to my sexual intercourse in my early and mid twenties and compare it to now as I am hitting my mid 30’s, I would have to say “Yes!”, sex has gotten better with age. I know what my body reacts to. What areas of my body are sensitive to touch allowing me to become easily aroused therefore making sex with my partner more intense and passionately toxic. As women get older, I feel like we become more in-tuned with their bodies. We know where we are ovulating so for those of us who do not want to get pregnant but enjoy sex without a condom with our partner, knowing when your body is not in the ovulation stage can be quite exciting enabling us to feel the raw warmth of each other. In comparison to even 5 years ago, foreplay and orgasm are more intense and enjoyable now.

    • So it turns out that punishing and repressing women sexuality isn’t good for either women or men. If we want women to be more responsive our society needs to be more sex-positive toward women.

  2. I feel that sex will be better or worse depending on the situation you are in. One night stand? Maybe the other person is just bad at it and does not know your needs. Married with your parter for life? Then maybe sex is amazing for them because their partner knows what they want. As many researches show that British women have a better sex drive over time or sex gets worse, I feel like it just depends on the person you are having a sexual relationship with. With others experience, I hear their sex gets better every time with their partner and others say who had one night stands that its horrible. For me the closer I am with someone the better chance I have of having a good time, the less I know the person, most likely it will be awkward and ill not want to speak to them again.

  3. I have heard this saying for years. Being in my early 20’s and being sexually active I could not imagine having the sex I am having now for the rest of my life. Not saying that its bad, but I know that I have not “explored” enough in the bedroom. So as a woman I really hope it does it better with time. It makes sense too. When you’re younger you’re usually shy, more reserved, and a lot of times don’t know what you’re doing. Unless you have a partner that can help you with YOUR needs, the only way to get “better” is to practice. That’s not saying that you have to have multiple partners to achieve this. You can be with just one person and each time you can learn and explore ways for both of you to enjoy intercourse. Regarding the comment on how woman seem to loose their sex drive throughout the relationship, I would think it is because its just not enjoyable anymore. The same old routine can be boring and that’s where the other saying “spice things up comes to mind”

  4. I find this statistic to be very interesting because it challenges what is usually assumed about sex. I grew up thinking that sex is more fun and exciting when your young because it is a new a adrenaline fueled experience, but as you get older the novelty wears off like most activities meant for entertainment. This maybe also stems from the way that sometimes our culture puts a negative connotation on marriage ( marriage=no more sex).

    I think this could come from the way that our culture defines what is sexy and the images that we grow up seeing. So much emphasis on attraction is purely physical and at a young age we may think that better looking = better sex. I think that although visual stimulation is what we might find arousing, emotional connection is what satisfies us.

    It could be that women enjoy sex more as they get older because they have more emotional barriers built from what they internalized growing up in a patriarchal society. Its harder to have an authentic connection with someone if you don’t look at each other as equals. If a woman doesn’t see her needs as equal to the man she is with, she may only focus on looking “sexy” putting too much focus on appealing to her partner than learning what she wants. On the other hand if a man views a women as a sexual object without needs or desires, sex could be focused on domination/violence versus pleasure.

  5. wow! after reading this blog, my thoughts about my sex life has definitely shifted a bit. I was thinking that sex was going to be like ‘this’ for a long, long time. & by ‘this’, I mean that the sex I am having with my boyfriend every week just doesn’t cut it. I do NOT orgasm at all unless I put some efforts into the intercourse the way I know would make ME orgasm. Most of the time, my boyfriend does not know how to please me the way I need to be. Does this maybe have to do with the fact that he is still young and in his 20s and not have enough experience? I guess only time will tell.

    • I would say there is hope. Sex gets better overtime partly because we get to know ourselves better, partly because our partners get to know each other better, probably because people tend to feel less guilt, and partly because deep connection can enhance the sex. Which plays a role and which doesn’t will depend on each relationship.

  6. I believe sex is as varied as your partners. Some guys look great but just don’t turn you on in bed. Then you’ll meet someone you may not even like at first but when you sleep with them you have a wild and wonderful experience. There are many factors but I believe that you simply have better sexual chemistry with some people than others. For example, I started with a young guy and we were both virgins and the sex was so horrible ( laugh) but we loved each other so that was fine, until I met a guy who was short and fat and not good looking but he was so sexy and we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Now I am with a man who adores me and is just perfect for me but the sex is good. However, as we get older we appreciate all the qualities in a sexual partner, not just sexual prowess and that affects the way we feel about sex too. With my current boyfriend, he is very caring and I always get satisfied during sex and i love the feeling of closeness that it gives us.

  7. In my opinion, I don’t really know just because I am not in a sexually active state where I can say I have sex all the time. But why would sex be better when you’re older? Or how would it be better? I guess from what my friends have been telling me they say its “fun” or its appealing to the opposite sex especially when they are young because they are “fresh” as they might say. But then again I get where you are coming from because generally speaking, older people tend to have more experience with sex rather than a teenager much like myself, who is by the way still a virgin. It’s crazy to think or to hear my friends point of view about having sex guy to guy and I’m over here, “can’t relate.”

  8. Great article Ms. Platts! This article is very interesting in a sense that it debunks the myth that “sex is WAY better at a younger age/ you lose interest in sex the older you get”. Overall, the research that was presented on this article was very convincing and the same time very shocking as well! I myself was very surprised with the results and I believe that this information should be widely shared in considering the myths that society has come to believe without solid evidence to back it up. The fact that more female orgasms were experienced as a result of old was very interesting in particular. From this article, I am now educated more on some invalid myths that society holds onto dearly.

  9. I do find this to be an interesting turn of events, as I wouldn’t have expected it. When I thought about it, though, I did find some points that made sense. For one, when girls and women are younger, they tend to be less open about what they enjoy. I know that at least in porn the girl is usually submissive and responds to what the man wants to do. If a girl isn’t as experienced, she may not speak up when asked to do something she does not like or want. It can be intimidating to deny a request from someone you’re so intimate with. As girls and women age, though, I believe it becomes easier to talk about this, as one gains more confidence. As well, with age comes experience and a better understanding of what one does or doesn’t like. A woman can restructure and decide what she enjoys in a sexual relationship, and then convey it to her partner. I feel as though those in longer term relationships or marriage or older are more comfortable doing so.

    • Another reason why sex gets better with age is that the negative ideas women have heard when they were younger start to decrease as women move into long-term relationships. And as they learn more about their bodies and get more practice.

  10. I have heard that sex gets better with age multiple times throughout my lifetime. This post actually relates to and reminds me of a scene in my current favorite TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, when the doctor was talking to a friend about how sex improves from hurting to okay to good to really good to really really good the more you grow up and have it. I have also personally been told this by people elder to my age when I tell them my sex with a significant other is not as good as I want it to be. In conclusion, this post, with all it’s statistics, helped boost my hope for my future sex life.

    • Yes, it’s generally true. If you have a partner who cares about your enjoyment (without constantly asking whether you have come — which feels like pressure instead of anything resembling erotic).

  11. This is very interesting! I always thought sex got worse because the sensitivity of ‘the pleasure spot’ decreases overtime! These researches proved me wrong.

    Rather than correlating sexual pleasure in a biological perspective, I think sexual pleasure goes hand-in-hand with experience. It’s like driving a car–the more you’re on the wheel, the better you get at getting to your ‘destination’. But, what am I know? I’m around twenty, and I lost my virginity this year. I can’t verify much but to hope that these researches are at least true for me when I get there!

    And, whoever thinks that “libido dies down with age”, I personally disagree. Yes, there’s biology into it, but some woman I converse with who say these statements are around their 30’s. They’re not that old to state that, and these researches do prove their statements wrong. So what’s missing?

    The link between sexual drive and age has a lot of links in between, and I believe it’s part mentality too. In my experience, I strongly believe libido dies because aggression dies. It may sound Freudian, but if you lack drive in one area, it might affect another as well.

    For example, my father’s friend, a 65 year old ambitious six-figure earner (she’s a woman by the way), has a sexual drive of a twenty year old. She’s not afraid to flirt with younger men and throw invites for them to join her in her latest E-class BMW.

    She’s high rolling with drive, and her sexuality lives because of it.

    Feeling alive may just be an option.

  12. This is honestly one of the strangest yet most interesting posts ive read so far. I like how it depends on women, you either lose your sex drive as you age or better yet you enjoy being sexually active. Makes me really think if people really enjoy it now in a young age but not really knowing what you are doing but still liking it, now when you age and get older you definitely know what you want and how to pleasure your mate and really know each other to satisfy each others fantasies. Also this post makes me wonder is this the same with men as well? Having a higher sex drive as they age??

  13. Although I cant relate to this blog that much, I can say that I learned a lot in a Human Sexuality class that I took this quarter. In my class, I learned that woman can get multiple orgasms and that a woman in her eighties can orgasm like she was in her twenties, which I find very interesting. Another fact was that 89% of married woman have sex three times a week and are sexually satisfied. One last fact was that both men and women with satisfying jobs have better sex than couples who don’t like their jobs. I mean, that kind-of makes sense because when you’re in your twenties, you just started your career and it’s not that stable, but then again, it doesn’t make a lot of sense either because I feel that women get less horny when they’re older. I think it also depends on race. My parents are Asian, so I feel that when Asian parents get older, they lose the sex drive and care only about their family, kids, and their jobs.

    • “it doesn’t make a lot of sense either because I feel that women get less horny when they’re older.”

      You are right that women’s sex drive goes down as they age. And yet the same women were enjoying sex more. I’ll talk about why in next week’s post.

  14. Hey, how come the women I dated never had that “super horny porn star state at the beginning of the relationship? Have to say that I’m having the best sex of my life with my wife of 7 years. Something to be said about trust and vulnerability. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  15. Hopefully this info is correct I am still in my twentys. But it makes sence young woman are still stuck in oppressions from society and dealing with other stress that prolly why as time goes on and they mature. They can get that sexual freedom they always wanted.

  16. Ha !! I should be so lucky 😉 xox

  17. I agree with your post, yes it does! 🙂

  18. In my experience, I’ve seen more men become uninterested in sex (or at least foreplay) the longer they are in a committed relationship. Maybe there’s something to be said for how ‘exciting’ the experience is. I mean, if all a guy wants to do after 10+ years is do the deed and watch Netflix (not saying that’s the case for everyone), I’d become uninterested in the act. It’s not that I wouldn’t still love the person, I would just need more. How do you tell someone “what happened to the foreplay?” without also insulting their “manhood.”

    On the flip side, the closer I feel to a person and the more comfortable I am with them, the easier it would be to relax during the act. I imagine this would result in greater satisfaction.

    I would be interested in the viewpoint of the men who are with the women in these studies. Did they think to ask them how they behaved to see if there is any correlation between their actions and the women’s interest in sex?

    I should point out that I’m not trying to place blame on one gender or the other. I just feel like the common opinion is that women losing interest in sex is the women’s fault/problem. Certainly there’s another side to look at there.

    • Yeah, actually I will look at some of the questions you pose in my next post on this topic, which tries to explain why some women enjoy sex more and some lose interest.

      And “How do you tell someone “what happened to the foreplay?” without also insulting their “manhood.”

      I’m not sure. Maybe a woman could tell her partner that she read an article that helps her to understand why she’s less interested in sex than she had been.

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