OpenPlacement Community > OpenPlacement Blog > Sex And Intimacy for the Elderly – Is It Time We Stopped Tip Toeing Around This Subject?

Sex And Intimacy for the Elderly – Is It Time We Stopped Tip Toeing Around This Subject? Christy Rakoczy

October 14th, 2013

SexNo matter the age, sex and intimacy are an integral part of one’s happiness, and contribute to the overall quality of any adult’s life. From 18 to 98 (and beyond!), sex and intimacy are part of what make us feel human and contribute to a fulfilled life.

All too often, the issues involved with sex that affect seniors are overlooked. From health issues to emotional issues and beyond, sex amongst seniors can have its obstacles, whether real or imagined. However, it is time that those issues are addressed so that those who call themselves seniors can enjoy this part of their lives as they did in younger years.

The Best Part!

In early years, men and women have difficulty meeting each other’s needs based on where they are physically and emotionally. In their 20′s and early 30′s, many men are easily aroused while their female counterparts are in need of a more full body experience. Later, women may be more easily aroused while their partner may be less so. After 50, however, it seems that both men and women have more similar bodily reactions to arousal and can therefore better please each other.

Furthermore, as both men and women grow older in age, the idea of sex can become just as much “outercourse” as “intercourse.” Having sex does not have to include penetration, and the result from enjoying each other in a variety of ways can still result in the same orgasms, often better, than may have been previously enjoyed.

But… Many seniors have other issues to face beyond just libido.


There can be a variety of issues that face seniors in terms of sex that can prevent healthy sexual activity. Many of these issues are perceived, however, and sex may actually improve them. Some examples include:


Many individuals think that their arthritis is prohibitive to sex. In actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Arthritis is helped by moving joints, and nothing helps gets joints moving than sex, and intimate relations. Whether it’s full on intercourse or any sort of intimacy, engaging in sexual relations helps any arthritic patient.


Some seniors (and younger individuals) may have some sort of ostomy, whether it is a colostomy, urostomy or ileostomy. These procedures result in the placement of a detachable bag on the body to receive waste material such as stool or urine.

For anyone, senior or otherwise, this can be a dramatic lifestyle change and something that can prevent intimacy with a partner. However, most ostomy patients will find that their partners are uncaring about such issues and are more interested in the intimacy between the two of them.

When senior patients are dealing with issues related to surgery that has changed their bodies, such as an ostomy, seeking therapy can be immensely helpful to move forward in terms of being intimate with a partner.

Other Potential Concerns

Other issues regarding sex amongst seniors abound, such as erectile dysfunction or the loss of vaginal moisture. However, many of these concerns can be discussed with doctors and helped with medicines or homeopathic remedies.

Overall, issues regarding sex and intimacy among seniors are taking a greater stage within the health community. Those interested in more information should visit:


  1. Shelley Webb R.N. October 15, 2013

    Sometimes we forget the importance of sex and intimacy in the lives of seniors as if we believe “well, you had your turn at it; surely you are tired of this by now”. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    Not only can sex and intimacy help improve conditions such as arthritis, the endorphins released contribute to mental well-being, joyfulness and peacefulness.

    Being able to connect with someone on an intimate level makes life so much more worth living.

  2. Sylvia Todd October 16, 2013

    I was 18 when I got my first job as a nurse’s aid. I was HORRIFIED and repulsed by the idea of “those old people” having relations of any kind…. At 19, my second job, I met a couple of very sweet little ladies who slept together and comforted each other in a physical way. Again, I was repulsed, but it became a source of laughter, because I did not understand.
    A few years later, a child who is grown, and some maturity. I am in my 50′s. My facility has had several couples, and now has two. I am the one telling the young caregivers and aids that sexual activity at any age is NORMAL, that Ms X masturbating so she can sleep is OK, and that Mr Z looking at porn is alright too.
    I have wondered often how the facilities are going to handle it when those couples are two men, or two women… With the homophobia that is still so prevalent, I think a lot of facilities will refuse same sex couples, which is a shame.


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