Sex and Relationships: the seven sexual ages of men

Yes, it’s a story of long, slow decline. But it’s ever so gradual and most 70-year-olds are still potent

In As You Like It, Shakespeare suggested that there were seven ages of man. Sadly, he himself didn’t experience all of them; he shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of only 52, precisely 400 years ago.

You could also say that the human male has seven sexual ages, marked by a gradual decline in activity. But can we stress that word ‘gradual?’ The fall-off over several decades really is very slow.

Even some doctors don’t appreciate this. Only recently one of us acted as an expert witness in support of a man who had wrongly been told by a surgeon that ‘males can’t expect erections after the age of 40’.

So let us look at these seven sexual ages. The future may be brighter than you think…

1. TEENAGE YEARS

 
Under-20 males are usually chock full of testosterone. Research from Alfred Kinsey onwards has shown that, on average, they have about three orgasms per week — but in some cases many more. In 2002 Germaine Greer somewhat daringly said of very young men: ‘Their semen runs like tap water’ — which is only a slight exaggeration. She also pointed out that ‘their recharge time is remarkably short’, suggesting this was something mature women might appreciate.

2. THE TWENTIES

 
The twentysomething male has only slightly less testosterone than his teenage self. According to Kinsey, he is still likely to have around three orgasms a week — though this may be affected by factors such as whether he is in a regular relationship or not. In general, he is less explosively-triggered than before, and can delay orgasm for quite a time. A chap in his twenties usually lasts a good deal longer than he did in his teens, so sexual congress doesn’t often terminate in an embarrassing and involuntary orgasm.

3. THE THIRTIES

 
The next decade brings another small fall in male hormone levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, from 30 onwards testosterone levels decline about 1 per cent a year. The average man in his thirties is likely to have just under three orgasms a week. And he usually has much better control. Some thirtysomethings can cheerfully pleasure their partners for half an hour before ejaculation.

4. THE FORTIES

 
A small part of the pharmaceutical industry is currently trying to convince the public that there is such a thing as a ‘male menopause’ and therefore the fortysomething bloke is likely to need either testosterone supplements or Viagra-type drugs. But there is there is no male equivalent of the sudden collapse in sex hormones when a woman hits the menopause, and most men in this age group are still experiencing about two orgasms a week without any medical help. Many are extremely well-controlled in bed, and as a result they are better lovers than they have ever been in their lives.

5. THE FIFTIES

 
The mean ‘score’ for men in their fifties is 1.75 climaxes a week. Only about 7 per cent of males are impotent at this stage and most are well able to satisfy their partners.

6. THE SIXTIES

 
In this older group, much depends on whether a man is still fit and healthy. Most estimates put the mean number of orgasms as just under one per week, but some fellows just decide to give up altogether. Kinsey, said about 20 per cent of sexuagenarians have erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, a lusty few take pride in having sex twice a day, or occasionally more.

7. SEVENTY-PLUS

 
Reliable data is hard to find for this group of men. An increasing number have poor health, which often diminishes their sexual performance. But about 70 per cent of 70-year-old males are still potent without the help of medication. In practice, Viagra-type drugs have greatly increased the amount of sexual activity in this ‘seventh age’ and beyond. The oldest sexually active male patient we have ever seen was still having regular intercourse with his wife at 85, thanks to a combination of Viagra and mutual determination.

So Shakespeare would perhaps have been surprised to learn that four centuries after his death, there are many septuagenarians and octogenarians who regularly make what Iago called ‘the beast with two backs’.

AND WHAT ABOUT WOMEN?

 
Truth to tell, sexual development is very different in females. In their teens and twenties, orgasm is a skill they often have to learn, particularly when they are with a partner. And young females are much less concerned with how often they ‘do it’ than they are about whether boys actually like them, and how they’re going to avoid pregnancy.

Like Germaine Greer, many mid-life women appreciate in retrospect the performance of teenage boys but regret that they weren’t ready to enjoy it when young. This sense of having missed out is one reason for the increase in divorce among the over-50s — the only group where the rate of marital breakdown is rising. Many women, whose focus has been on child-rearing and career, come up for air and find themselves more confident and orgasmic at the very time their partners are winding down.

This trend may also have fuelled a growing acceptance of marriages in which the woman is much older. The wondrous Joan Collins, for example, has been wed to Percy Gibson, 32 years her junior, for 13 years.

But the majority stick with what they know. Indeed, for many couples, a shared sense of humour, home and history far outweigh the desire for orgasmic gymnastics.

Above all, older women are often able to look at their partners with familiar affection and agree with one of Shakespeare’s memorable quotations on love: ‘I would not wish any companion in the world but you.’


  • Callipygian

    Yuck. Semen is yuck. Men are too, really: especially the way they treat toilets and microwaves. Thank god I am over them!

    at 85, thanks to a combination of Viagra and mutual determination.
    Good god. I don’t know which is worse: the Viagra let’s-pretend or the gawd help us ‘mutual determination’. Give it up and get some dignity already. These will be the same people buying adult diapers because the body and its baseness rules them.

    The rest of the article just confirms that men are Nature’s golden boys: when women are young and hot they are disadvantaged, worried about pregnancy and burdened with contraception (and the doctors that insist on violating their privacy for the sake of same): men have more fun and pay no price. Then when women finally catch up, their men are either out the door or no match for them. Isn’t Nature grand?