Changes in Sexual Desire with Age
Although aging brings biological changes that may dampen sexual interest in some people, the demands of daily life also shape older people’s sexual desires or drives. Engaging in sex at any age requires an investment of time, emotion, and energy. As for people in other age groups,
older people’s sexual drives may decline under the pressures of mental or physical fatigue, pre- occupation with business, overindulgence in food or drink, physical illness, or fear of sexual failure. For some people, boredom within the relationship also may be a factor in a loss of sexual interest. Life events and major transi- tions often affect a person’s interest in sex.
Many healthy older men maintain their production of testosterone at levels equal to those of younger men. Men feel some level of sexual desire throughout life. A positive self- image is probably the single greatest contribu- tor to sexual desire. Men and women who feel good about their bodies and who perceive themselves as physically desirable are more likely to have a satisfying sexual relationship than those who do not. Women, however, are more likely to base their self-image primarily on judgments about their appearance; men also consider appearance but give greater weight to their sexual performance. Men and women with positive attitudes toward sex are more likely to remain sexually active throughout their lives.
Sex and the Older Couple
Many older adults who have an active sex life say that sex feels as good or better than when they were younger.The changes that come with age, such as a man’s taking longer to achieve orgasm, can provide an opportunity for couples to become more sexually compatible.Also, without the distraction and demands of children, or worries about contraception, older couples may ﬁnd themselves at a stage of life that is more conducive to sexual intimacy. Retirement allows more time to enjoy each other.