Feature Archive

Sex After 60 -- Why Not?

Sexy Seniors

WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Gary Vogin Many seniors are physically healthy and active, including sexually. "People don't lose their passion," one senior says. "They don't lose wanting to be held, to be touched, having physical contact with another human being."

Seniors having sex is perfectly normal, says Beverly Whipple, PhD, a professor of nursing at Rutgers University and president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, even though the idea may be foreign or even repulsive to younger people. "We grew up thinking that anyone over 65 who is interested in sex must be a dirty old man or woman."

But these days, people are living longer and staying healthier. A woman's life expectancy is now 81, and a man's 76, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So it makes sense that they would continue to pursue activities they have enjoyed throughout life -- including sex.

Not all seniors continue to have sex, of course. But the healthier a senior is, the more likely he or she has a healthy sex life as well, according to a sexuality survey of nearly 1,400 adults aged 45 and older commissioned in 1999 by AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons. Sexual activity, the survey concludes, "declines with age for both men and women as health declines or they lose partners."