How often do married couples have sex after 50?

How often do married couples have sex after 50?

 · 14 min read

If you ask yourself this question, you’re probably wondering if you’re having too much or too little sex. You might also be wondering if sex is even necessary as you grow older? Or perhaps you are worried about wanting too much sex? So let's look at what's "normal" and explore ideas for how to spice things up or create intimacy if sex is no longer your main priority.

  • Find out how much (or little) sex people over 50 have
  • Figure out how to improve your overall intimacy as a couple to increase sex drive
  • Find out how to make yourself, and your partner, feel more desired
  • Decide on the amount of sex that’s right for you and ensure that your overall relationship doesn’t suffer if you stop having sex

Our sex lives after 50: FAQs

  • How many people are still having sex after 50?

    About 70% of people stay sexually active after 50.

  • What’s the right amount of sex to have after 50?

    There is no exact right amount—everyone's individual. However, average numbers indicate that about 60 -70% of couples over 50 have sex regularly. About 25-30% of those have sex at least a couple of times per week.

  • What can I do to improve my sex drive as I grow older?

    Your physical health and mental health underpins your sexual health. Eating well, sleeping well, exercising, keeping stress levels low, and partaking in activities that make you happy tend to improve your sex drive. As does improving your relationship with your spouse.

  • What can I do to improve my sex life?

    Apart from going for sex therapy, you can do plenty of things to spice up your sex life, from improved emotional intimacy to trying sex toys. Take your pick!

  • What do older guys like in bed?

    Older guys want much the same as younger guys, but you can help them feel more confident in how you desire them.

  • What do older women like in bed?

    This article covers both what older women and men like in bed and tips for improving your overall sex life.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Age Times. Commissions do not affect our writers’ or editors’ opinions or evaluations. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

As you’re asking yourself what’s typical for your sex drive when you’re over 50, let’s start with the numbers. What’s the average number of times couples over 50 have sex per month? 

It’s fair to say that sex drive declines with age. However, this decline is individual, and there isn’t any such thing as the “average adult.” The amount of sex people want varies from person to person. Thus, the frequency of sex varies from couple to couple. The trick lies in finding a balance with your partner - you both have to agree on what you want. 

Erotic fiction author Louisa Berry agreed with this, telling us: "It really depends on how each member of the couple is feeling. Do they still get aroused with each other, separately, or with someone else? The effects of menopause may come into play as well, with some women losing their sex drive, whilst others rediscover it!

"Some couples try an alternative lifestyle, to put sparks back in the bedroom. As long as any arrangement is based on trust, honesty and acceptance, really anything goes these days! Life is for living after all!"

One survey done by the dating app Lumen found that among American adults aged 50 to 80: 

  • 27% had sex at least once a month
  • 37% did not have sex anymore
  • 22% said they’d become more adventurous in bed with age, and 8% much more adventurous
  • Among singles, 14% would have sex on a first date, and 30% within three dates
  • 16% of women said their libido has increased with age
  • 51% said they plan to have sex until they literally can’t do it anymore

Another study from AARP found that 31% of couples over 50 have sex several times a week, 28% have sex a couple of times per month, and 8% have sex at least once a month. So that leaves about 33% of couples who have sex less than once per month. 

Looking at other studies, one found that nearly half of all Americans have sex at least once a month. And about 35% of sexually active couples have sex twice at least twice per month. However, only about 25% of people 75 - 85 years old are sexually active. As for the UK, one study found that at least half of all couples in a serious relationship have sex less than once a week

These numbers indicate that it’s as “normal” to have sex several times a week as it is not to have sex at all if you’re a 50-year-old or older. However, sexual frequency for couples shouldn’t be about what’s “normal” or expected, but about what’s right for you. Your sexual satisfaction is a relationship matter, so you need to tell your partner if you feel you’re having too little or too much sex. Likewise, you need to tell your partner if your sexual satisfaction and needs aren’t met because sex is unsatisfactory. 

Studies have shown that married people tend to share physical intimacy, not just sexual intimacy. So let's look at how to have more and better sex and how to be more intimate as a couple - whether or not you want to have more sex. 

Sexual desire and intimacy

Nobody will want to jump in the sack unless they feel intimate with you. It may be that women are more sensitive to emotional intimacy than men, who respond to physical intimacy. Still, a man who his partner nags is unlikely to feel like a romp in the bedroom. Likewise, if your partner never tells you or shows they desire you, you won’t feel like having sex. To create a satisfying sex life, you have to work on your overall intimacy, as well as sexual desire. So let's look at both and how you can further unlock the benefits of sex. 

Clinical Sexologist Ness Cooper told us: "Our sex drive and ability to have sex can change over time and learning that these things are influenced by multiple factors is important. We can blindly move fluidly through these changes during points of our lives, and that can be beautiful, but one of the things that can make us stop and wonder about them is age. Ageing can make us reflect in ways we may feel unprepared for. We can often blame certain factors on age alone when really we have had to encounter them in different capacities throughout our lives in the past and got through them without even batting an eyelid at them.

"Being able to communicate any concerns you may have around your sex life is important, but also reflecting on any positives there maybe is important too.

"Some influences on libido are health-related, and again, communication about sexual issues is key to getting to the bottom of them. This can be hard if you’ve been taught all your life not to discuss certain things. But in reality, not only should we be free to talk about how our body is when it comes to sex with a partner, we need to be able to talk about it to those around us who help with health and care needs. Once you’re able to talk about these difficulties, you may find that the answer is something non-sexual and that it can be treated by your general health care provider. Once managed sexual confidence and libido may even return too."

Sex and relationship coach Lucy Rowett added: "Research says that in general, women's sexual desire tends to be more stimulated by context- which means how you feel emotionally, what closeness you feel with your partner, any other stressors going on in life, and your general state. Whereas in general, men's sexual desire tends to be more stimulated by visual cues.

"However, this is not absolute and it varies a lot. If you think it sounds too complex, then here's a reframe: what if you could see this as an opportunity to take sex and intimacy outside of the bedroom, as more than just the physical act of penetration, and most of all, much more than something one person "gives" to the other?

"What would it be like to flirt more, cuddle more, touch more and see each other as lovers first? Many issues in desire can stem from boredom or frustration, especially if you've fallen into a habit of how you have sex- from how you initiate, to what you do, to what you do afterwards.

"It is never too late and you are never too old to learn new skills and to experience an erotic awakening in your later years. You may be surprised that you end up having the best sex and intimacy of your life!"

Emotional intimacy and happiness

To ensure you have a healthy relationship with your partner, ask yourself how much you compliment them. And how much you nag them. For the next four weeks, set yourself a challenge to stop all nagging and start complimenting them daily. Compliment their looks, personality, and any action they perform that you appreciate. Actions may range from them cooking a meal to them being entertaining at a dinner party or picking up someone's groceries at the supermarket after they fell to the floor. 

If you feel the need to nag your partner for not doing something, take a deep breath. Then tell them about something they've done that you appreciate (this will also help you remember why you don't want to blow your fuse). After that, ask them what you wanted them to do, stressing why it's important to you that it's done and telling them how much you'd appreciate it if they could do it. Once it's done, hug or kiss them, and thank them profusely. They're more likely to do something again if this is how you handle requests!

To further improve intimacy, set quality time aside together where you focus on one another. This is not about going shopping together, but going out and doing things you both enjoy. This could be hiking or going for a weekend away. It could be setting time to visit the farmer's markets you both love and then cooking a meal together. It could be going to the museum or attending a theatre show. It should definitively involve going on date nights together. Trying new things can further add some spice to your life. This is extremely important if you feel your relationship (or lives) has stagnated. 

When having conversations with your partner, consider that you don't know how they feel that day or how they've changed since yesterday. So get curious about them again. Ask them about things. What are their goals? Dreams? Desires? What do they fear? What would they like to change in their lives? What would they like to experience? What are they unhappy with? What are they happy with? 

Lastly, tell your partner you love them. Spell it out. Give them gifts and offer to help them with tasks. Spend time with them and compliment them. Hold their hand and hug them. And as people need to be loved in different ways, look at this article I wrote and scroll down to the part about the five love languages

Increasing sexual desire 

Once you feel emotionally close with your partner, it's easier to improve physical and sexual intimacy and sexual desire. 

Remember the bit about compliments above? Make a point to tell your partner whenever they look nice or smell nice, wear something sexy, or do something attractive. Tell them about how you desire them and why. When people feel wanted, they open up to having sex. 

When your partner does something in the bedroom that you enjoy, tell them. That will make them glow. They’ll feel appreciated and want to do it again. 

You also need to speak about what you enjoy and don't enjoy in the bedroom and new things you might want to try out. This is a lot easier if a partner feels there is emotional intimacy and that they are loved. It is also easier if they feel desired and know that you already appreciate what they do in the bedroom. Again, you must tell them how much you want them and compliment them whenever they do something you enjoy in bed. 

A healthy sex life can easily be created when you both feel appreciated, desired, and supported by each other.

Another thing that will add to this is physical intimacy. The study mentioned above from AARP discovered that most happy couples regularly kiss passionately. Holding hands, hugging, giving each other massages, and simply caressing one another from time to time also increases physical intimacy. This, in turn, can lead to improved sexual intimacy. It also helps turn you on and increase your passion. 

Of course, also remember to set the mood. Date nights are great for that. And if you want to have frequent sex, but both lead busy lives, you might have to schedule sex. A more polite way of putting it is simply setting time aside to explore each other - through date nights, experiences, and sex. There needs to be a scheduled time to do so, or you will have less sex, whether you like it or not. 

Improving sex drive

If you feel your libido has gone down the drain, it’s hard to think about sex. While a sex therapist can help you get to the bottom of why you no longer feel like partaking in sexual activity, there are some common root causes for losing your sex drive: 

  • An unhealthy lifestyle—lack of healthy foods, exercise, and sleep
  • Consuming too much alcohol or drugs
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • An unhappy relationship with your partner
  • Feeling undesired by your partner
  • A negative change in body image 
  • Hormone changes during menopause 
  • A lack of self-confidence
  • Sexual boredom—not experiencing anything new in the bedroom 

Generally speaking, to get in the mood, you have to lead a happy and healthy life. When you feel good about yourself, you feel empowered and sexy. By putting your wellbeing first, you also improve your sex drive. Below are some things that might help improve your sex drive: 

  • Exercise for twenty minutes per day (alternate between cardio and strength exercises—one day each)
  • Meditate and do breathing exercises for ten minutes per day to lower stress
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and ensure you turn off the lights a little while beforehand to increase the production of melatonin (if you have problems sleeping, consider eating things that raise your levels of tryptophan and drink herbal teas that—over time—will help with sleep, such as a blend of lemon balm, mint, chamomile, passion flowers, valerian, lavender and, possibly, CBD but always check with your GP first)
  • Eat a whole foods diet—avoid refined and processed foods, including sugar (opt for honey instead) 
  • At least once a week, go for a long walk in nature 
  • Fill your calendar with things that enrich your life—away from your partner (courses, gym, social events, workshops, book circles, volunteering, whatever it may be that help you nail your goals and improve your overall enjoyment of life) 
  • Cut down on alcohol, drugs, and smoking if necessary
  • As you eat well and exercise, start thinking of your body as your temple and give thanks for what your body provides you with—maybe get some massages and start using all-natural body products to make yourself feel good (and realise that everyone ages and get wrinkles, loose skin, age spots and all the other adorable signs of a life well-lived)
  • Try dressing up and enjoying looking and feeling good about yourself—get a makeover if you feel like you need one
  • See a doctor to check ALL vitamin levels and do a regular checkup, plus check hormone levels if going through menopause and talk with a doctor if you have erectile dysfunction
  • Follow the tips in this article to improve your relationship with your partner and dare to explore new things in the bedroom
  • If you are feeling depressed at large, do the above with regards to your health - exercise, sleep, spend time outdoors, engage in social activities, and follow a healthy diet to increase the amount of "feel good" chemicals your brain releases) and speak with a psychologist

If you have erectile dysfunction, read this article I wrote about diet (and other tips) for help on this topic

Consult the specialists

If you've tried all the above and still can't improve your libido, check with your GP that there are no underlying health issues. You could also speak with a certified sex therapist for ideas on how to improve your sex life. If a sexless marriage or relationship is making you suffer, you need to do something about it. 

Summing up: Sex and your wellbeing

Did you know that there are health benefits to having sex? It can improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing and your relationship with your partner, and it can help you destress! However, a lack of sex isn't always a problem—so long as you think you're getting enough sex, and your partner think they're getting enough sex, things are fine. You can still do many of the above things to improve your relationship. A lack of sex should not lead to a lack of intimacy—you still need to foster that. And if you’re longing for more sex, I hope this article will inspire you to improve your sexual health and wellbeing and try new sexual experiences. 

Maria Montgomery
Maria Montgomery
Maria joined Age Group in 2020 and specialises in content around dating and mental wellbeing. She has lived in seven different countries, has an entrepreneurial streak and is the owner of Magique and That Woman Is A Woman Productions. Her blog, Confessions of a Dizzy Blonde, offers her life learnings, sprinkled with a large dose of humour…and sex!