Anonymous on September 12, 2011

What happens to male sexuality with age?

I’m 35, seeing a man who’s 55. What can you tell me about male sexuality at his age?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on September 12, 2011


Thanks for asking this great question. Indeed, there are some changes that happen in men as they age that can affect the way they express their sexuality. However, different men experience changes differently, too…I’ll share with you some common changes in men’s sexuality over time, but they may or may not apply to your partner.

First, men experience a decrease in hormones with age. Unlike menopause in women, the hormonal decrease in men is is gradual and testosterone production never completely stops.

Men experience testosterone loss differently based on a number of factors, including weight. One 2007 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that men experienced a greater decrease in testosterone with age if they were also overweight.

Other changes in men as they age include a decrease in fertility as sperm production slows. Also, the prostate tends to expand with age, which can sometimes cause urinary issues. Additionally, a man’s sex drive may diminish as he gets older...or, he may experience some degree oferectile dysfunction (ED).

For example, it may take an aging male longer to get an erection, and he may need more time and direct stimulation to do so. Related, the firmness of his erections may wax and wane…which may also make him more vulnerable to the impact of "performance anxiety." In other words, if a man experiences a slight decrease in firmness and he panics, it’s possible that he could lose his erection altogether.

As a man ages, it might also take longer for him to ejaculate and, on occasion, he might not ejaculate at all.

While these are all normal changes, I would also encourage your partner to continue seeing his doctor regularly as he gets older. Unfortunately, other health problems (like cancer, hypertension, diabetes and other conditions) are more common as we age. Annual check-ups with his doctor can help detect any problems before they become too serious.

That said, as you and your partner age, you can support each other by communicating and learning what works as time goes on. One of the best things you can do is talk to your partner about what he’s noticing as he gets older…and ask what you can do to help.

Related info:


David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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