Over half (52%) of people aged 65 and over say they don’t feel like they have enough sex. And almost one in three people aged 65 or over (30%) have had sex on a first date since turning 65, or would consider it. That’s according to a new survey on older people and attitudes to sex, published by Independent Age, the older people’s charity.

The survey of 2,002 older people, carried out by Censuswide and published to coincide with Valentine’s Day, reveals that one in 10 people aged 75 and over (10%) say they have had multiple sexual partners since they turned 65. One in six people aged 65 and over (17%) say one of the only reasons they would stop having sex would be a lack of opportunity.

This survey is published alongside guidance from Independent Age for older people on a range of issues about relationships in later life, be it ending a relationship or starting a new one. The guidance is available for free online at www.independentage.org/relationships.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Only one in six people aged 80 and over (18%) say they feel like they have enough sex.
  • More than one in four people aged 65 and over (29%) who are in a relationship that started in the past 10 years say they met their partner online.
  • Condoms are the most frequently used form of precaution against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) among people aged 65 and over, although around one in 11 (9%) say that they do not take any precautions against STDs when they start having sex with a new partner.
  • One in eight people aged 65 and over (13%) who are in a relationship say having sex is one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
  • Friendship, receiving a hug and having a romantic relationship were picked as some of the most important things to people aged 65 and over.

Lucy Harmer, Director of Services at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said:

“Age is no barrier to having a sex life, and a lot of older people are more sexually active than many people may think. Strong relationships are important in later life, and ideas about friendship, romance and intimacy may well change throughout life. Close relationships can offer emotional support, and can make a difference by staving off loneliness and giving you resilience and support to get through difficult patches in life. However, sex, dating and relationships can be complex, and that does not stop when we get older. The ending of old relationships, and starting new ones, can be emotional, but they can also present financial, legal or practical challenges. To help you through this, our Relationships in Later Life guidance can help you navigate some of the issues you may face.”

The Relationships in Later Life pages include information on:

  • Coping with a changing relationship: How to deal with pressures such as retirement and ill health
  • Ending a relationship: Separation, divorce and dissolving a civil partnership
  • Dating: How to get back into dating in later life
  • Sex in later life: Enjoying sex as you get older
  • New partners and marrying again: Financial, legal and practical considerations
  • Being a grandparent: Tips for new grandparents and advice on common challenges
  • Family estrangement: How to cope when family relationships break down


About the survey

This survey of 2,002 people aged 65 and over was carried out online between 02.02.2018 - 07.02.2018 by Censuswide, for Independent Age.

Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles

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