Sex & Life
Sex & Life March 29, 2017
It may feel like sex is everywhere, from billboards to TV shows to our favorite songs. However, we rarely talk about what sex is actually like at different ages and what you should know by age 20 through 90.
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To find out what every woman should know about sex as she ages, ENTITY scoured studies and talked to a variety of experts – ranging from Dr. Jennifer Berman, residential sex expert and co-host of The Doctors, to Bat Sheva Marcus, Clinical Director of Maze Women’s Sexual Health.
Here is everything you should know about sex – in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s!
When you think about sex in your 20s, words like “freedom,” “hormones,” and “experimenting” might first pop into mind – and you wouldn’t be wrong. Research has shown that, by age 24, 92 percent of women have lost their V-cards, and 10 percent of women in their early twenties report having three or more partners in the past year. Not only that, but researchers have also found that couples in their 20s enjoy hanky panky around 111 times per year, with the frequency dropping by 20 percent per decade.
Experts agree that your 20s are a time of experimentation…so feel free to go a little nuts! “There’s a lot of freedom regarding sexual orientation and sexual fluidity today,” says Dr. Jennifer Berman. She emphasizes that people can’t look at sexuality in a vacuum. Compared to being a 20-something-year-old decades ago, millennials today are “much more exposed [to sexuality] and much more experienced and aware.”
One 22-year-old, Meghan, agrees. “Sex is a wild roller coaster ride of emotions and hormones,” she says. “Every time you finally get the hang of one aspect, a new twist is thrown in.”
You may think that the best part about turning 21 is finally being able to legally hit the bars. But, from these stats, its seems like the best part about being in your 20s is enjoying that “tall glass of water” you keep running into at the bar!
So, you survived the sexy rollercoaster of your 20s. What happens when thirty birthday candles top your cake? According to some research, your sex life may get even better – and, no, we’re not kidding! Studies report that women in their 30s and 40s have more intense sexual fantasies, are more open to one-night stands or casual sex, and have more sex overall than their 20-something-counterparts. As psychologist David Buss points out, this “sexual peak” in women might be an evolutionary side effect. As women hit their 30s, their fertility starts to decline, so they need to have more sex to get pregnant.
However, that’s not the only reason turning 30 may have you thinking about – and enjoying – sex more than ever. As Dr. Logan Levkoff explains, “As we age, we tend to feel better about who we are. There is a freedom to be yourself and own where you are in life that may not be accessible when we are younger.” Dr. Berman agrees, pointing out that the experience, time and confidence gained by women in their 30s may be more responsible for their “sexual peak” than any physiological changes.
Either way – turning 30 suddenly doesn’t sound so bad!
When you enter your 40s, sexuality may get even more complicated thanks to the hormonal changes hitting your body. “Hormones will fluctuate, and there will suddenly be changes in vaginal lubrication and libido,” says Dr. Berman. “Women will also start to claim they are more irritable, gaining a little weight or experiencing more PMS symptoms.”
However, don’t despair just yet. Some research suggests that your best sex ever happens when you hit 40. In a survey by the AARP, 56 percent of participants between the age of 45 and 59 reported having sex once a week or more. Even more surprisingly, 37 percent of women in a British survey said that the best age to have sex is in your 40s. What’s so great about 40s sex? Research shows that, while 40 percent of 20-year-olds struggle to orgasm, only 20 percent of 40-year-olds do. Women in their 40s are also more likely to experience multiple orgasms – and 89 percent of women admit to experimenting with new positions and locations (including the garden!)
Sure, by 40, you may be the double the age you were when you first explored your own sexuality. But you also may be having twice the (orgasmic) fun…
Maybe sex isn’t the first thing you think of when you imagine your 50th birthday. However, plenty of women are still having sex in their 50s and 60s – and loving it! In one survey, 62 percent of women between the ages of 57 and 64 reported being sexually active in the last year. Another study found that 85 percent of sexually active 60-to-69-year-old women are happy with their sex lives.
At this time in women’s lives, menopause has arrived. On the one hand, “this can provide a new freedom,” says Dr. Berman. “On the other, it can be a loss of one’s reproductive self, not to mention the symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.” But, since this is also when children are often leaving the nest, your 50th birthday might be the perfect time to “re-explore intimacy and sex.”
In fact, for author and sex educator Walker Thornton, “at age 62, sex is actually better than it was when I was younger. I know my body and my desires, and I have found the words I need to articulate what I want. I am as active, sexually, as I have been at any point in my life. There are no limitations or modifications needed.” Sex blogger Gaynor Evans agrees: “I didn’t really get into my stride until I became single eight years ago. I have had the best sex of my life since, but I own my sexuality now.”
You might even discover entirely new facets of your sexual identity. “I had a female client in her mid-sixties come to see me because she was questioning her sexuality,” says Dr. Stephanie Hunter Jones. “She had been married to her male partner for most of her adult life, who had passed away, and she had recently become involved both sexually and emotionally with a female. She had the courage to step outside her comfort zone and now reports that she is now having more amazing sex than ever in her life.”
You may feel like you have everything already figured out when it comes to sex. But if your 50s and 60s can teach you anything, it’s that life is still full of passionate surprises.
You may not want to picture your grandma’s love life, but she could be one of the 6 in 10 women over the age of 60 who are in committed – and sexually satisfying – relationships. Not only that, but surveys have even found that 70 percent of women 60 years or older believe their sex lives are better than they were in their 40s. (Just when you think the sex can’t keep getting better…it does!)
Of course, not every older woman experiences the same spicy love life. “As we move through our lives, our sex drives change, our sexual interests may change, our likes and dislikes change and our sensitivity may change,” says Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus. “This can be due to so many factors: our relationships, our health, the time we have, the demands on our attention. I believe the biggest determinant for a sex drive as you age, (as in most times in your life) is whether you want to have a strong sex drive.”
One of Dr. Berman’s patients – a 78-year-old widow – is living proof. “She walked in and said she read something in Cosmo magazine about a cannabis oil that helps with orgasms. She said, ‘I feel like I still have my energy and brains. I’m traveling and going on dates. I want my parts to be working,'” said Dr. Berman. “Of course, I assisted her. [The cannabis oil] wasn’t legal at that time, but she got it at Colorado. She later found a boyfriend slightly younger and is doing great.”
Sex in your seventies may not be as easy as the “old days,” but it can be just as enjoyable!
There really is no age limit to good sex – and these statistics prove it. An AARP survey found that 34 percent of those 70 or older have sex at least once a week, and another study found that 90 percent of participants over the age of 79 were satisfied with their sex lives.
Dr. Logan Levkoff isn’t surprised. “I have spoken at events where there are 90-year-olds in the audience. My older participants are equally concerned about pleasure and quality sex, even if they are not experiencing sex the same as they did in their 20s or 30s. They have asked about vibrators and how to buy them and how to engage in good sex if certain positions are challenging due to health issues. It’s all very exciting for me – it proves that sex is not solely for the ‘young.'”
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Pat Taub, blogger at “Women’s Older Wisdom,” agrees. “[Older men and women] often have limited intercourse, emphasizing touch, cuddling, caressing, and other physical contacts that exclude intercourse,” she says. “I have noticed, like with an 83 year old female acquaintance, when a new relationship takes hold, there is a romantic quality that involves a lot of touch.”
Sex at age 90 and up is probably only going to get more common, according to Dr. Berman, as advancements are made to allow people to live longer. Sex at 90 won’t be the same as years before, just as “a 1964 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a 2017 Tesla van use different ammo. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t drive in that car and enjoy the scenery. It’s just accepting the limitations in our body, optimizing our bodies, speaking to our health care providers, and not feeling shame about sex.”
Whether you’re 21, 92 or somewhere in between, sex is as common a subject to hear about as it is a complex act to master. Every woman is different and every woman will experience different challenges, successes and discoveries related to her sexuality.
If all of these statistics, stories and expert opinions prove anything, though, it’s that there’s no age of “bad sex.” There are just countless chances to try something new, embrace your body, dismantle stereotypes and discover the confident, sexy woman you are – at any age!
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