Sex and the older man
October 2, 2007 7:14 PM   Subscribe

How does a man's sexuality change as he gets older?

I (a woman in my mid-thirties) am starting to see a man about thirty years older than me. So far, so great, especially in the bedroom department. But it has me wondering how older men's experience of sexuality changes as they get older (assuming they are otherwise healthy). I know I could just ask him, and eventually I will, but for the time being I feel a little odd saying, "So, what's it like being as old as you?"

So, my question is, is sexuality different in older men? Do they get more horny? Less horny? Do they think about sex more or less than when they were younger? Are they attracted to different kinds of women than when they were younger? What kinds of physical limitations or advantages come with increasing age?

Any good links, blogs, info, personal anecdotes would be great. (I do realize that generalizations are just that, everyone is different, etc.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Plato's Republic, Book One: Cephalus speaking. 'How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles, —are you still the man you were? Peace, he replied; most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master.'
posted by eritain at 7:54 PM on October 2, 2007 [13 favorites]

Well, if you want a textbook definition (which I'm guessing you don't) sexual drive peaks at 20 and slowly declines thereafter in men. Women peak mid-thirties.

Obviously this varies greatly!
posted by 20something at 8:43 PM on October 2, 2007

Not sure why this is, but it seems that every year I get older, the "ceiling weight" at which I find women attractive goes up about 5 pounds. Likewise, the "minimum attractive weight" goes up about 5 pounds too. With numerous exceptions, of course.

What the hell do I know, I'm only 33. But I guess that means by the time I'm 70, I'll only be attracted to women between 330 and 410 pounds.
posted by Rykey at 8:55 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm in my mid-thirties, and I think I am on the slippery slope to becoming a dirty old man. I am fascinated by attractive women, moreso than when I was in my late teens and twenties. A trip to Robson Street or Yaletown is a real treat. I can't figure it out. Maybe it's because women these days take greater care of their bodies, and also dress better. I came of age in western Canada in the late 80s and early 90s, when it was the grunge era and baggy jeans, combat boots and flannel shirts were the rage. Porn was still something you hid under your bed. The economy, which is booming right now, was shitty back then. Women didn't have the money for nice clothes. Nice clothing stores just didn't exist west of Toronto. It's just that I don't remember women as being that attractive back then. There's a lot more to look at now. Or is it just because I'm getting older and grosser?

I also think that fetishes change with age. I kind of wonder if it's just that my tastes have become more refined over time, or if it's a biological thing.

Sex drive has changed, too. When I was younger, it was EVERY DAY EVERY DAY. Now, it's not as urgent.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 PM on October 2, 2007

My grandparents, who are in their '90s, still have sex, although with my grandma's hip problems and my grandpa's knee problems, they have to be creative about it. I once volunteered at a senior citizen's home, living on site for a week, and I was shocked by the amount of hanky panky and room swapping that takes place.

According to an Esquire article I read a few years ago, some men have a more difficult time staying hard through sex once they get past a certain age. The article advised that they not be embarassed, and that they enjoy themselves. Some men experience other forms of sexual dysfunction, but many don't.

A lot of older people continue to have and to enjoy sex for as long as they have a sexual partner available. And many are annoyed, offended or troubled by the popular conception that older people - men and women both - don't have sex and don't have any interest in sex.

Anyhow, the guy that you're with it likely a decade off before any of these issues start to set in, assuming he's in good health. And that's if he has any problems at all.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:05 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Personal experience: early 60's. I work out at the gym for an hour 6 days a week. I don't find the younger women there (under 45) particularly sexually attractive, pretty yes, attractive no. Can't say why but i've been doing classes which are mostly women for several years and at this stage they are just people. I do enjoy sex a few times a week and the nice thing about age has been that it takes longer to climax although the climax is not as strong. So I enjoy the ride more. If my father is any indicator he was still sexually active into his mid 80's and I suspect, because physical exercise helps maintain testosterone levels, i will be active into my 90's. When your male friend is making love hope that he doesn't ask if it feels like old age is creeping up on you.
posted by ptm at 11:40 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Physically, the changes are fairly slight. Older men rarely get spontaneous erections (to less experienced women, this can be misread as disinterest). A teenage male is essentially a walking erection with a confused brain attached. Over the years, the male body learns to ease off a bit, probably just as a result of having some many unfulfilled erections. The desire is still there, but the body needs a bit of a kickstart as proof that it will be worthwhile.

Mentally, the changes are greater and very positive overall. Young men are generally searching for a Playboy Centerfold. As you age, you come appreciate women of all types. You also become more knowledgable of, and comfortable with, your own sexuality which makes your life richer.
posted by dzot at 6:45 AM on October 3, 2007

Generally men who exercise regularly eat healthy food, and get plenty of sleep don't suffer as sharp of a testosterone drop in later life. The rest usually do.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2007

I am not a man, but:

dzot said: "Older men rarely get spontaneous erections... The desire is still there, but the body needs a bit of a kickstart as proof that it will be worthwhile."

I dated a man 33 years my senior a while back (he was in his 50s, I'll let you do the math) for two years, and this pretty much sums it up perfectly. Horny bastard but had a few erection maintenance problems. In my experience: older men tend to be more patient, more forgiving of physical aspects that younger men would consider flaws, better teachers and far more awesome at oral sex than anyone should be. Younger men are a little more awkward and even if they're "experienced", very specific about what they think should happen and usually take a little longer to warm up to differences.

On the flip side, younger men have instant erections and hot bodies, and older men seem to come with emotional baggage and can end up patronizing you without realising. I should probably date someone around 15 years older than me next to really get a sample of what happens in the middle ;)

I'm currently with a guy far closer to my age, but I would date an older man again if the opportunity arose itself.
posted by saturnine at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

What saturnine said. I dated an older man off & on for 7 years who fit a very, very similar description. He had occasional equipment malfunctions, but I have yet to meet a man close to my age who's one tenth as good with his hands... I mean... seriously. I still mourn it sometimes.

Oh. Ummm. I said that out loud, didn't I? Sigh.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:58 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've been with the same guy for 35 years - trust me on this, they just keep getting better and better. Lucky me. :)

To answer your specific questions: 1)just as horny, 2) still thinks about sex almost all the time, pretty much attracted to the same kinds of women (who he thinks is hot pretty much fits a pattern), 3) physical limitations as others mentioned above, occasionally, 4) advantages are all in your favor as he is so incredibly considerate of what you like.
posted by Lynsey at 9:24 PM on October 3, 2007

I think it will be hard to predict anything not only because of the basic impossibility of generalizing, but also because people are aging now with so much more information, community and openness than they had just one generation ago -- because of the internet and because talking about sex has been so mainstreamed. The generation of men who are older than your partner now haven't aged sexually in the same environment that your partner is now aging in.
posted by sparrows at 12:37 AM on October 4, 2007

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