What Age Do People Stop Having Sex: Statistics To Know

Among Americans aged 65 and older 61.3% of females and 28.3% of males report being sexless for at least five years, although sex can stop at any age for a number of reasons.
split screen image with a donut graph on the left that depicts 33% of married couples over the age of 50 report that they rarely or never have sex, with an image of a couple in their 50s dressed in wedding-like apparel with unsure expressions on their faces, conveying that sex has stopped between them
Updated:December 2023

Although many senior citizens continue to have sex over the age of 70, among Americans aged 65 and older, 28.3% of males and 61.3% of females reported being sexless for five years. [2]

Sex, however, can stop at any age and for a number of reasons unique to the individual.

Key Statistics To Know:

  • Among Americans aged 65 and up, 41.6% of males and 73.7% of females reported having no sex in the past year. [2]
  • 38.1% of women between 57-64 years old reported being sexually inactive in the previous year. [8]
  • Women between the ages 55-64 reported sexual abstinence due to pain during sex, strongly linked to issues of vaginal dryness, sex anxiety, and lack of sexual enjoyment. [16]
  • 15.6% of men between the ages of 57-64 reported sexual abstinence in the previous year. [8]
  • 40% of men in their 40s have some form of erectile dysfunction, with an increasing risk of 10% each decade, which can often lead to sexual abstinence. [9]
  • One study found that 33% of married couples aged 50 and up reported that they “rarely or never have sex.” [11]
  • In a survey of 1,900 married adults between the ages of 57 and 85, almost 40% did not have sex for the past year in 2019. [12]

In this article, we will discuss when people — men, women, and married couples — stop having sex (and why), and address the effect that abstinence has on the body over time.

What Age Do People Stop Having Sex?

bar graph depicting that among men and women aged 65 and older, 73.7% of women and 41.6% of men reported not having sex for at least one year prior to being surveyed
  • In a 2017 study, 41.6% of American males aged 65 and up reported having no sex for the past year, while 28.3% had been sexless for 5 years. [2]
  • In the same study, 73.7% of American females aged 65 and up reported having no sex in the last year, while 61.3% had been sexless for 5 years. [2]
  • 5.7% of American women between the ages of 45-59 years old were reported to be sexually abstinent in a 2017 study. [2]
  • 4.5% of American men between the ages of 45-59 years were reported to be sexually abstinent in a 2017 study. [2]
  • In a 2008 study, 34% of Swedish male adults at age 70 did not have sexual intercourse in the past year. [14]
  • The same study also found that 65% of Swedish female adults at the age of 70 reported no sexual intercourse in the previous year. [14]
  • In a 2009 study, 31.6% of Chinese women in Hong Kong between the ages of 45-59 years were reported to have no sexual intercourse in the prior year. [15]
  • In the same study, 17% of Chinese men in Hong Kong aged 45-59 did not have sexual intercourse in the past year. [15]

On average, sex tends to dwindle in older age.

This can be due to health problems, issues with sexual function, and lack of a partner.

Menopause can also play a role.

What Age Do Women Stop Having Sex?

bar graph depicting that by age group, 38.1% of women aged 57-64, 60.2% of women aged 65-74, and 83.2% of women aged 75-85 report being sexually inactive
  • 38.1% of women between 57-64 years old reported being sexually inactive in the previous year. [8]
  • 60.2% of women ages 65-74 reported being sexually inactive in the last year. [8]
  • 83.2% of women aged 75-85 were sexually inactive in the past year. [8]
  • Women between the ages 55-64 reported sexual abstinence due to pain during sex, strongly linked to issues of vaginal dryness, sex anxiety, and lack of sexual enjoyment. [16]
  • Over 1 in 4 adult women ages 18-89 did not have sex in the past year. [2]
  • In a study with 24,000 post-menopausal British women aged 50-74, 50.8% reported sexual abstinence. [7]

Menopause can come with many physical changes that can lead to uncomfortable or painful sex, so it is not surprising if women stop having sex around this age.

Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, a pelvic floor therapist on our medical review board, explained that among her older patients, most of them visit her practice due to pelvic floor dysfunction.

“Since most of the women I see over [the age of] 70 have painful intercourse, bowel or bladder incontinence, and/or pelvic organ prolapse, their physical or social discomfort contributes to this,” she explained.

However, if desired, treatments are available to help.

What Age Do Men Stop Having Sex?

bar graph depicting that by age group, 15.6% of men aged 57-64, 32.6% of men aged 65-74, and 61.1% of men aged 75-85 report being sexually inactive
  • 61.1% of men between the ages of 75-85 years of age reported sexual abstinence in the previous year in a 2010 study. [8]
  • 32.6% of men between the ages of 65-74 reported sexual abstinence in the previous year. [8]
  • 15.6% of men between the ages of 57-64 reported sexual abstinence in the previous year. [8]
  • 40% of men in their 40s have some form of erectile dysfunction, with an increasing risk of 10% each decade, which can often lead to sexual abstinence. [9]
  • 52% of 1,700 men aged 40 to 70 reported some degree of erectile dysfunction. [10]
  • About one in six men (15.2%) reported having no sex in the past year. [2]

Men tend to be sexually active later in their years compared to women.

This may be for several reasons: 

  • A lack of menopause and physical changes
  • PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra
  • Increasing acceptance of sex therapy to help with erectile issues
  • Women live longer on average and thus are more likely to be widowed compared to men

When Do Married Couples Stop Having Sex?

donut graph depicting that 33% of married couples over the age of 50 report that they rarely or never have sex
  • In 2013, 33% of married couples aged 50 and up reported that they “rarely or never have sex.” [11]
  • In a survey of 1,900 married adults between the ages of 57 and 85, almost 40% did not have sex for the past year in 2019. [12]
  • Japanese married couples between ages 20-59 reported that 24% did not have sex for at least a year in a 2015 study. [17]

The reasons married couples stop having sex can include relationship issues, trauma, health problems, and sexual dysfunction.

While some wish to rekindle the spark, it can feel awkward after so much time.

Addressing the underlying issue(s) as a team and open communication can be helpful for those who wish to bring back physical intimacy.

What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Having Sex?

text graphic with a heading that reads "what happens physically when you're sexually inactive," followed by text that reads: in men, stopping sex can lead to decreased prostate health; for women in menopause, it can tighten the vaginal canal and increase vaginal dryness

When a person stops having sex, it:

  • Decreases the body’s opportunities to release hormones like oxytocin and endorphins which can help manage stress and sleep. [13]
  • Decreases neural activity in the brain and decreases the opportunity for your brain to grow more neurons, preventing benefits like recalling memories at a better rate. [13]
  • Can help decrease the capacity of the immune system due to missed opportunities in raising levels of immunoglobulin A which is an antibody that helps fight off colds and foreign viruses. [13]
  • Takes away opportunities to raise heart rates and support blood flow, improving cardiovascular health. [13]
  • Can increase experiences of aches and pains such as menstrual cramps, sore muscles, and headaches. [13]
  • Can lead to more vaginal dryness and thinning vaginal walls for people going through menopause. [13]
  • Can lead to decreased prostate health in men. [13]
  • Can compromise the strength of the pelvic floor, which decreases bladder function and increases incontinence and leaking. [13]
  • Can increase feelings of inadequacy and insecurity due to decreased endorphin and oxytocin production. [13]
  • Lowers the risk of UTIs. [13]
  • Removes the risk of sexually transmitted infections. [13]

Whatever the reason individuals stop having sex, there should be no judgment — however, there are measurable impacts on the body, including both mental and physical health.

Sources:

  1. How does the United States compare with the rest of the world in human sexual behavior?
  2. Sociodemographic Correlates of Sexlessness Among American Adults and Associations with Self-Reported Happiness Levels: Evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey – PMC
  3. A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States – PMC
  4. The Effects of Subjective Age and Aging Attitudes on Mid- to Late-Life Sexuality
  5. Nearly one in 10 British women experience painful sex linked to poorer sexual, physical and mental health | LSHTM
  6. How Sex Changes After Menopause | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  7. Sexual functioning in 4,418 postmenopausal women participating in UKCTOCS: a qualitative free-text analysis
  8. Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing | The BMJ
  9. Aging related erectile dysfunction—potential mechanism to halt or delay its onset
  10. Impotence and Its Medical and Psychosocial Correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study | Journal of Urology
  11. Sex at 50-Plus: What’s Normal? – Older Married Couples, Having Sex, Re…
  12. A National Longitudinal Study of Partnered Sex, Relationship Quality, and Mental Health Among Older Adults – PMC
  13. What Happens If You Stop Having Sex?
  14. Secular trends in self reported sexual activity and satisfaction in Swedish 70 year olds: cross sectional survey of four populations, 1971-2001
  15. Sexlessness among married Chinese adults in Hong Kong: prevalence and associated factors
  16. Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey
  17. Low Fertility and Reproductive Health in East Asia