Harvard Men's Health Watch

Redefining a healthy sex life

Knowing what to expect as you age can make intimacy more enjoyable for you and your partner.

healthy sex life couple
Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock

Your sex life doesn't end once you reach a certain age. Older people continue to enjoy active sex lives well into their 70s and 80s, according to a study in the January 2016 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior. In fact, 54% of men over age 70 report they are still sexually active. Still, older men need to change their mindset when it comes to this next phase of their sex life.

"Our culture has a narrow perspective of what is considered good or 'normal' sex," says Dr. Sharon Bober, director of the Sexual Health Program at Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Center. "Your body and mind change as you age, which means your sex life does, too."

Shifting expectations

The main sexual issue older men face is to think they should function physically like they once did. For instance, after age 50, erections can become less firm and reliable. This can create much guilt, anxiety, and frustration.

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