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Sex Tips for Young People, from Old People

We asked a bunch of people around the age of 60 to share some of their experiences with us, give us their best sex tips, and tell us how sex has changed over the course of their lives.

by Yasmin Jeffery and Salma Haidrani
Jul 27 2016, 3:35pm

Photo via Flickr user Angrylambie1

Older people love having sex. That's because, like younger people, they are also humans, and humans generally enjoy having sex with other humans. It's a lot of fun, and it feels great, and it's good for your bones and your heart and your soul. So it's no surprise that a recent report found that 26 percent of people over 60 in the UK are unhappy with life because they're not having sex enough. In fact, a lack of sex later on in life, it turns out, is a greater cause of distress than being stuck at home all day, living in relative squalor or being widowed.

A 2015 University of Manchester study found that 54 percent of men and 31 percent of woman over 70 are sexually active, but for the remaining percentages, it must be frustrating racking up all those decades of experience and then not being able to anything with it. So because you can never know too much about coitus, we asked a bunch of people over (or near) the age of 60 to share some of that experience with us, give us their best sex tips, and tell us how sex has changed over the course of their lives.

Sue, 67

Photo by Agnieszka Chabros for 'Catalogue' magazine

In the late 1960s, in Britain, men still had all the power, so they asked women out on dates, and people would go to things like balls. But then there was also the radical-hippie group who came in and held orgies with marijuana and acid and sexy dancers.

Men weren't very experienced with sex, because they didn't get to have experiences with any women that were more advanced sexually. So women just thought whatever they did was OK because it was all they knew. And since all young people lived at home with their parents, there was no opportunity to go out and have flagrant sex and experiment on the kitchen floor. The change started in the mid 60s, because the music became a huge signifier of what was different. It was an odd time, though, because there was this huge sense of conservatism throughout it all—women were still writing cooking books and knitting back then, for God's sake. But then a whole bunch of acid came along, and it gave people the freedom to say, "I will not get married, I will not have children, I will not be locked into housework; I will get a job and fly around the world instead." In the 70s, my sister and I were living in a beach town, so we had to have sex with a different boy every night for a year to get experience. People went from sitting at home and eating TV dinners to not ever going home and dancing and fucking as much as they could.

The best thing to do to learn about sex is to go and have a lot of sex. I would tell everyone to go out and pick up random people. People should also talk about things, because there's no replacement for that. Definitely, definitely practice masturbation, because that's a skill. You have to know exactly what you want, and you've got to know what's happening to your body. So if you're with a partner that can't give you those tingles in your feet, you're with the wrong person and you've got to leave them because sex dictates how your relationship will be. You must also love your body and explore it in every single way. Even the top of your head; everything. You should also be very informed on sex toys—everyone should go to Amsterdam, because really that's where the best sex shops are, and it's brilliant! Having sex with people of the same gender is important, too—everyone should try that at least once in their life, but be sure to just have lots of one-night stands in general. Lastly, everyone should try bondage games at some point in his or her life. With the right partner, it can be amazing. Oh, and everyone should make a movie of themselves having sex. If you're not turned on, don't do it. That's the only rule with sex.

Leo*, 59

People have always had sex—I doubt there's anything that people do today that wasn't done by the generation before us, or the generation before that, or the one before that, etc. I don't think dating has changed, either—people still go to the same kinds of places and get up to the same kinds of shenanigans.

Finding a date has certainly changed, though. Apps like Tinder have made it possible to find a date while sitting on the sofa, which I guess is fine for most, but it sort of takes the sport out of it. I think the best part of dating is the thrill of the chase, the subtleties of flirting, and the risk that she might already be in a relationship. With Tinder, this is all removed. How dull!

I've been very lucky in my life. Without sounding like a complete ass, I have never had a problem in getting a date, and I've done pretty much everything that can be done, sexually. If I were to offer any pearls of wisdom to younger men, it would be this: Porn isn't real. The women who you will meet in your life are not porn stars, and sex isn't like it is portrayed in porn films. Take time with your partner, and don't be an asshole.

Jo*, 60

When the six-week block of school holidays came around in the late 60s, my friends and I would meet up and go out to parks to hang out with boys and kiss them in the bushes. We'd meet the boys at the youth club and then get together afterward, and if we could, we'd get into clubs because sometimes they didn't check how old we were. We'd go there early and stay until way past midnight by putting mops in our beds with wigs on top so our parents wouldn't find out because they were Christians and would have gone crazy. All the boys used to walk us home, though. There was never the question or thought they'd do something bad to us, because it just wasn't like that. No matter how far it was, they'd walk us home.

Everything was different then; I got pregnant with my first child when I was 16, so we started young, even though our parents didn't want us to. It was all about breaking the rules and doing what we wanted to do at the time. I'd put on my best dress, makeup, and go! Those were the days—everything was easier then, and no one was scared of what might happen because it wasn't very likely anything would. We had good times back then, man. Things are so much different now, though—we could be free and do what we wanted, but people have to be much more careful now. I hear so many horror stories these days that I just want to tell all my grandchildren not to go out with strangers and do what I did, because you just can't any longer.

If you do find someone you like and you get along and that spark is there, make sure you use protection! Or the pill if you've been together for a long time, and you know where the other person's been. And tell each other what you like and what you don't—that is so important. When I got pregnant, I'd only had sex a few times, and I didn't even like it that much back then. So don't continue with something you aren't enjoying or you don't think is all that, and don't ditch your friends for anyone. Those are the most important things! That wasn't even on my mind when I was fooling around, because no one talked about it, but there you have it.

Ron*, 59

It's definitely become easier now for people to find sex. Dating was there earlier, but it was difficult to engage in sex unless there was some hope of a relationship. Today, I've found it really doesn't matter if people engage in sex, even without a relationship. It's more out of carnal desire probably, or just to convince yourself there is physical compatibility.

Easy availability of sexual services via the internet has also made things so different for many people, such as paying for sex or sex outside marriage, for example. It's kind of denigrated the beauty of sex, so more isn't always better in my opinion.

As for sex tips? Don't rush in just for physical attraction or desire. Think about possible consequences, too. But, most importantly, you can enjoy a good sex life without making it the only headline in any relationship. Love, live, laugh, and enjoy a relationship.

*Names have been changed to suit some of the subjects' low-key lifestyles.

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