Sexual desire in later life

J Sex Res. 2005 May;42(2):138-49. doi: 10.1080/00224490509552267.


The has been relatively little research on sexuality in later life, particularly among persons over 60 years of age. The existing literature consists of studies of small samples, much of it from a biomedical perspective. This literature suggests that age, hormone levels, specific illnesses, and various medications negatively affect sexual functioning in older persons. The study reports results from a survey of a large sample (N=1,384) of persons age 45 and older that included measures of a variety of biological, psychological and social factors that potentially influence sexual functioning. We report bivariate and multivariate analysis conducted separately for women and men. We find that the principal influences on strength of sexual desire among women are age, the importance of sex to the person, and education. In this sample of the population of older persons, attitudes are more significant influences on sexual desire than biomedical factors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging* / physiology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Libido*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior* / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Social Values
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States