Swinging from the chandelier may be more difficult
after 60, but what about sex and intimacy? For many, it can
be as satisfying as it’s always been, though the electricity
may surge at a different current.
Today’s seniors are generally healthier, better informed,
more open and more likely to seek medical help and
medications for sexual problems than the generations before
them, experts say. Contrary to myth, sex doesn’t disappear in
the golden years; rather, it shines with a new lustre.
“Orgasm might lessen with age but most men do not
lose their capacity to have erections and in general women
certainly don’t lose their ability to have orgasms,” says Sandi
Hirst, an associate professor of nursing at the University
of Calgary who has held a number of leading positions in
gerontology. “These are normal life experiences and they
Sex and intimacy are more often about the journey than
the destination. The experience that comes with age informs
sexual expression and provides a deeper appreciation of your
partner and any challenges that may (or, ahem, may not)
arise. Age, disease and developmental or physical disabilities
don’t necessarily diminish the desire for intimacy and sexual
expression, says the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Stable and nurturing physical relationships between
consenting adults at any age or generation are to be
treasured. One of the most difficult hurdles as we age is the
loss of a spouse, says Hirst, and the accompanying loss of a
deep sense of intimacy. Being unable to cuddle a partner in
bed in the darkness and feel a familiar, sleepy embrace can
A good sexual relationship can take many forms, including
when one spouse becomes a caregiver for the other.
Sex after 60
Shining with a new lustre
“In a filmstrip I saw, the woman talked about the sound of
her husband breathing at night and reaching out and holding
hands,” says Hirst. “To me, that says it all. A good sexual
relationship is whatever makes you comfortable and
— Mike Fisher
Romance tips for seniors
• Stay active
• Eat healthy
• Enhance sex with medications, devices, role-playing or whatever
• Consult your family physician before beginning any new medication
• Change the setting for romance, it can change your mood
• Use your experience to take your time.
Sex doesn’t disappear as we get older; the experience that comes with
age informs sexual expression and intimacy.