Science Says You'll Have The Best Sex At This Unexpected Age

Society seems to think that the best sex of your life is had when you're at the prime of your existence. You're young, spritely, and you have years ahead of you to choose sexually compatible partners and explore your likes and dislikes. 

But a few surveys (one from a popular dating site) seem to indicate that your sexual satisfaction levels are highest when you're older. We're talking late 30s all the way up to your 80s. Talk about debunking things movies taught you about sex. Out of 5,000 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels across the U.S., 66-year-old single women and 64-year-old single men reported having the best sex of their lives, per a 2018 survey by Online wellness platform Happify found that 46 was the sweet spot age-wise, while contraception app Natural Cycles arrived at the magic number of over 36 for the best orgasms. 

While these might not qualify as truly scientific studies, there is some evidence to support these findings, like a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Medicine, which reported that sexual satisfaction increased with age for a group of 1,303 older women involved in the research. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that age wasn't a factor when it came to sexual quality of life (SQoL). In fact, older adults had a positive relationship with SQoL, even though this measurement was driven by quality and not quantity. So what gives? Perhaps this is why Dr. Ruth talked about tips for a healthy sex life as you age.

Older adults are more comfortable in their bodies and about their sexual needs

Experts seem to think that the best sex comes at this unexpected age because you're a lot more confident, comfortable in your skin, and body positive as you grow older, all factors that contribute to a good sex life. As shared by sex therapist Vanessa Marin (via HuffPost), "With my clients in their 20s and 30s, self-consciousness is a huge factor in why they aren't able to enjoy sex: Younger people are too in their heads about what their bodies look like, how they're performing and what their partner is thinking. Eventually, that wears off. Even between the 20s and the 30s, there's already a significant decrease in self-consciousness." 

Mature individuals also tend to take control of their sexual pleasure, especially when getting pregnant, busy and highly demanding work days, and kid-related responsibilities aren't part of the picture. Older adults may have fewer distractions and more privacy. Additionally, some experts think that having truly pleasurable sexual encounters probably takes center stage over faking orgasms to keep their partners happy or just making do with less-than-satisfactory sex.

However, there could be a downside to this level of sexual freedom and expression too, according to a 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Being widowed, divorced, and living in congregate settings may increase sexual activity, but it also comes with a risk of sexually transmitted infections, particularly if safe sex practices are forgotten because there's no fear of pregnancy, etc.

Acquiring skills with long-term partners might contribute toward a better sex life

Simply having more life experience and practice from being with one partner for a long period of time could help with sexual quality of life too, per the researchers of the 2016 study. In the words of the study itself, "aging may be associated with the acquisition of skills and strategies that can buffer age-related declines in SQoL, particularly in the context of a positive relationship." In other words, while older adults may not be having as much sex, the sex they do have is of higher quality because they put more thought and effort into it. 

However, not everyone has long-term partners to practice sex with, so to speak. According to Dr. Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the reason why society might perceive older people as not having as much sex is related to the simple fact that they may not have sexual partners. "The older we get, the more likely we are to be divorced, to have a partner die, to have a partner become ill. So it's not for lack of desire. That's a total myth," shared the doctor (via PBS Vitals). 

Peppered in with this news about sex becoming unexpectedly great as you age are the topics of what men need to know about their sexual health as they age and how menopause might affect your sex drive. Interestingly, experts think that working around these challenges also makes couples creative, contributing to higher satisfaction as you age.