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Sex After 60: Your Guide to Intimacy and a Healthy Sex Life

Enjoying a healthy sex life isn’t only for the young. People of all ages can have satisfying sexual experiences.

As you age, you may experience some physical changes like gray hairs and body aches, but the emotional and intimate parts of sex can still be great.

Roshni Kundranda, MD, a geriatric medicine specialist with Banner Health, explains how men and women experience changes as they age and how to adapt to them to ensure a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Understanding normal age-related sexual changes

As we age, our bodies naturally change. In your 60s, these changes may or may not impact your sex life and intimacy. 

“A decrease in sexual activity in older adults can result from factors like poor health, depression, low sex drive and the aging process itself,” Dr. Kundranda said. “Even lack of privacy, such as living in an adult child’s home or long-term care, can impact your desire and ability.”

Changes in women

Changes can vary from person to person, but here are some common sexual changes women in their 60s may experience:

  • Vaginal dryness: Lower levels of estrogen during menopause and postmenopausal years can lead to vaginal dryness. This can make sex uncomfortable or painful.
  • Thinning and shrinking vaginal tissue (vaginal atrophy): The tissue in the vagina may also get thinner and smaller, causing pain during sex. 
  • Changes in sex drive (libido): Decreased sexual desire happens due to psychological factors, hormonal changes, chronic illness and medications.
  • Longer time to achieve orgasm: Achieving an orgasm may require more time and prolonged clitoral stimulation. The intensity and duration of orgasms may not be as strong as before. 
  • Pelvic floor changes: The pelvic floor muscles can weaken with age, pregnancy, and other factors. This may lead to issues like pain during sex, less intense orgasms and reduced sexual satisfaction.

Changes in men

When men hit their 60s, various changes can happen in the bedroom, too. Here are a few that men may experience:

  • Erection challenges: It may take more time to get an erection and the intensity and duration of orgasms may change.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): Some may face ED, which is when it’s difficult to get or keep an erection. 
  • Premature ejaculation: Some men may reach orgasm too quickly. 
  • Retrograde ejaculation: In some cases, semen may go into the bladder instead of coming out. It’s not harmful but it can happen, especially after prostate surgery.
  • Libido changes: Like women, men may also experience low sex drive due to psychological changes, hormones (low testosterone) or health issues.

Impact of medications

Medications can affect your sexual desire and performance. For example, some drugs used to manage high blood pressure may contribute to ED. 

“Certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiestrogens and antiandrogens can also affect sexual function in men and women,” Dr. Kundranda said.

Steps to keep romance alive

Changes to sex and intimacy are normal and adapting to them is part of the journey. Here are some tips to get the spark back in the bedroom.

  1. Talk it out: Open, honest communication with your partner about your desires, concerns and body is important. It builds trust and helps both of you understand each other’s needs.
  2. Take care of yourself: Your overall health is the VIP pass to a satisfying sex life. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and managing chronic conditions can do wonders. It boosts your energy levels, supports a healthy heart and is great for your love life.
  3. Change things up: Try new sexual positions or add sensual activities like massage or sexual aids for variety. These devices, including vibrators, can add a new dimension to your intimate life. Older couples often need more stimulation, so sexual aids can help with arousal and achieving orgasm.
  4. Use a lubricant: If you’re dealing with vaginal dryness or painful sex, a water-based lubricant can be helpful.
  5. Nurture emotional connection: Intimacy isn’t just physical. Engage in activities that strengthen your bond, whether through shared hobbies, meaningful conversations, simply spending quality time together or hugging and holding hands.
  6. Stay safe: Unless you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship, use protection to protect your health. If you are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, consider an annual STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening. There is no age cut-off for screening.
  7. Seek professional advice, if needed: If you are noticing challenges or changes that are impacting your intimacy, talk to your health care provider or a licensed behavioral health specialist who specializes in issues related to intimacy in older age.

Bottom line

The journey of intimacy after 60 is about embracing change, communication, exploration and adapting to the natural evolution of your body. Remember: age is just a number. You can continue to enjoy a vibrant and fulfilling sex life no matter how old you are.

Contact your health care provider or a Banner Health specialist if you have questions or concerns.

For other related topics, check out:

Relationships Senior Health Sexual Health Behavioral Health