5 Ways Your Sex Life Changes As You Get Older — For The Better

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We’re taught to believe that our sex drives and sex lives decline as we age. But many find that their desire for and enjoyment of sex actually goes up as they get older, and there's research to support this. If we can stop pretending that sex is something exclusively enjoyed by young people, we can destigmatize sex between older people and help people enjoy satisfying sex lives at all ages.

"Big Myth: Women lose interest in sex they mature," Cosmic Sister founder Zoe Helene tells Bustle. "Most women experience the exact opposite, well into their 50s (and beyond). I founded a feminist group, so I speak to hundreds of women about things they might not typically share. While some women experience a loss of sex drive as they move through life, it has been my experience that the great majority of women wish their partners were [up for having more sex]."

What does the research actually say, then, about how your age affects your sex life? The findings are more complicated than "your sex drive decreases" or "it increases." Here are a few research findings that shine light on the positive changes your sex life might go through as you get older.

1Women 36 And Over Have The Best Orgasms

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If you haven't yet hit 36, here's something to look forward to: A study by the contraceptive app Natural Cycles found that women 36 and over reported better and more frequent orgasms and better sex overall than younger women.

2Women In Their 30s Feel More Confident In Bed

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Another reason to look forward to your 30s? In one survey by U.K. retailer House of Fraser, 26 percent of women in this age group said they'd grown more confident in bed, and 64 percent said they found themselves more attractive because they'd become more confident with age.

3Older People Care About The Quality Of Sex Over The Quantity

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One study in the Journal of Sexual Research found that the quality of people's sex lives only declined with age if their relationship quality and health declined. Otherwise, their sex lives improved. This may be because older people cared more about the quality of their sex lives, as opposed to how often they were having sex. "Aging may be associated with the acquisition of skills and strategies that can buffer age-related declines in [sexual quality of life], particularly in the context of a positive relationship," the authors wrote.

4Older Women Have More Knowledge Of Their Bodies And Fewer Inhibitions

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The older you get, the more you get to know your body, and the more comfortable you become with it. At least that's what one study in Menopause found. Women ages 45-60 reported that their sex lives had improved due to increased knowledge of their bodies and decreased inhibitions — something people of all ages can strive toward. "One of the most enlightening findings of this study was the large number of women who had successfully adapted to any negative changes by modifying their expectations regarding sexual activity, putting more emphasis on the emotional and intimacy aspects of sex, or adapting the sex acts themselves," the study's lead author, Holly Thomas, MD, told The Independent.

5Sex Helps Keep You Healthy As You Get Older

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Another reason to maintain an active sex life as you get older? It can help prevent health problems down the road. Women who have regular sex ages 57-85 are less prone to high blood pressure, according to a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

So, don't believe the rumors about great sex being reserved for your twenties. Many older people can and do continue to enjoy amazing sex lives — and benefit from them.