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At what age do we have the greatest sexual desire? It’s later than you think

 At what age do we have the greatest sexual desire?  It's later than you think

Sexual desire, both to have sex with a partner and to masturbate, is not necessarily higher in your twenties, according to a new study.

It is generally accepted that as we age, our sex drive diminishes. The ravages of time affect our motivation for sexual activity and reduce the frequency of erotic thoughts. However, a new study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior question this fatalistic and depressing view.

An international team of scientists collected data from an extensive survey conducted between 2007 and 2018, in which 8,150 participants aged between 15 and 80 were asked about their levels of sexual desire. Desire was divided into three categories: involvement in sexual activity with a dedicated partner, involvement in sexual activity with an unspecified “attractive person”, or involvement in sexual activity with oneself (masturbation).

According to research, women’s desire for partnered (dyadic) sex peaks in their mid-twenties and remains high into their mid-forties, before steadily decreasing. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that women’s dyadic sexual desire increases during the phase of life when they are most fertile.

However, the female desire to masturbate does not follow this simple path. It peaks in your mid-20s, then declines until your 60s, and then increases again slightly until your 80s.

Men’s desire to have sex with an attractive person follows a simpler curve, peaking after age forty and then gradually decreasing. Your desire to masturbate follows an approximately similar curve that peaks at age 30 and then gradually declines until age 60, then drops much faster.

Interestingly, the male desire to have sex with a devoted partner peaks around age thirty-five, before dropping slightly in middle age and rising again. Trends point to male sexual desire appearing to be more “promiscuous” at first, before focusing more on monogamy later on.

Overall, the results contradict the idea that men and women experience greater sexual arousal in their twenties. Instead, the peak of sexual desire appears to generally occur in middle age.


Effects of age on dyadic and solitary sexual desire in women and men.

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