What are the older adults’ sexual behaviors?

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

During history, there has been cross-cultural documentation of sex differences in sexual psychology and behaviour. Nevertheless, the researchers have been mostly focused on young adults rather than older individuals.

Most of the men and women agree that the sense of humour and kindness are important characteristics that their partners should have. However, they differ in the prioritization of other features. Women, for example, prioritize the earning potential and social status of a long-term partner, while men prioritize attractiveness and youth.

Moreover, men report greater interest than women in short-term sexual relationships as well as more lifetime sexual partners and a greater frequency of infidelity to a long-term partner. They are also more likely to have sex with someone other than their committed romantic partner. Men, not only desire more sexual partners and more short-term mating opportunities than women but are also more eager to have sex with a desirable person after knowing that person for shorter lengths of time.


DeLamater and Moorman in 2007, and Beutel et al. 2008, reported an inverse relationship between age and sexual behaviour or sexual desire. The frequency of different sexual behaviours in a large sample of older people was recorded. According to the results, although greater age is associated with decreased frequency of sexual behaviours, older men and older women report both partnered sexual activity and masturbation.

A study by G. Vance, et al., 2020, explored the sexual psychology and behaviours of older men and older women with a self-report survey that included ideal sexual partner number desired in the future and preferences for characteristics in a prospective long-term romantic partner. Participants were 186 individuals, 69 male and 133 female, residing in a retirement community in Southeastern Florida, USA. The mean age of participants was 67.00 years old.

According to the results, older men placed greater importance on physical attractiveness and good housekeeping than did older women, whereas older women placed greater importance on financial prospects, emotional stability, and ambition than did older men. Older men reported more lifetime sexual partners than did older women, and they were more likely than older women to report currently seeking a short-term mate. However, there was no significant sex difference for whether participants had ever had sex with someone other than their current partner.


Moreover, older men report more frequent sexual fantasies and sexual arousal than older women. They also reported a higher average number of imagined sexual partners per day, more frequently switching partners during a single fantasy, and clearer mental images of their partner's facial and genital features.

In conclusion, these results show and support the idea that sexual behaviours and differences in young adults replicate during later life.

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