Sexual Functioning in Middle Adulthood

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  • 0:01 Middle Adulthood
  • 0:59 Frequency
  • 2:18 Dysfunction
  • 3:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Sexuality is an important part of most adults' lives. But what happens when things change? In this lesson, we'll take a look at the changes regarding sex that often occur in middle age, including sexual dysfunction and changes in the frequency of sex.

Middle Adulthood

Billy and Betty are married, and they love each other very much. They've been together for almost 30 years, since they were in their mid-20s, and they are still going strong.

But lately, there have been some issues in the bedroom. Sometimes, Billy has trouble performing. His doctor says this is a normal part of aging, but Billy feels really insecure about it.

Billy and Betty are in middle adulthood, which lasts from age 40 to age 65. During this time, many things are changing. People often find that they advance in their careers, and they are often raising a family. But there are also negatives to middle adulthood, which is also called middle age. As the body gets older, physical signs of aging begin to appear, like wrinkles or gray hair. Let's look at some of the changes in sexuality during middle adulthood.


Billy and Betty have been together for a very long time. When they first got together, during early adulthood, they couldn't keep their hands off each other. They were really attracted to each other and had a healthy, frequent sex life.

It's not uncommon for couples in early adulthood (which encompasses the 20s and 30s) to have a very active sex life. This is because the sex drive is very high at that point in life. But as people age, their sex drive slowly lowers, and couples in middle adulthood often find that they just don't have sex as often as before.

This is true of Billy and Betty. They've been together for three decades, and they're very different now than they were before. They don't have sex nearly as often as they used to.

It's not just couples, either. Betty's friend Nina is single, and she doesn't have the active sex life she had as a single woman in her 20s and 30s. There just doesn't seem to be enough men out there to go around! Women in middle adulthood often struggle to find sex partners, like Nina does, because men die earlier than women. Starting in middle age and continuing into later life, women outnumber men, and it becomes harder for women who are not part of a couple to find someone to be with.

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