• Two in five over-55s own more than five sex toys, and a fifth are planning to buy more sex toys this year than last year.
  • Over-55s rate their level of sexual openness on average higher than 18-24-year-olds.
  • A third of over-55s are planning to experiment with kink in the coming year, half with prostate/anal play, and three quarters are planning to experiment with masturbation.
  • One in three over-75s bought their first sex toy after their 75th birthday, and just under half of over-55s say they are sexually active now in ways they weren’t a decade ago. 

These are some of the headline results of a survey we carried out in January that asked 500 people aged from 18 to 75+ about their sexual interests, sex lives and sex toy buying habits.

We expected to find that older people were more sexually active than the stereotypes would suggest (because selling sex toys since 2013 has taught us that). But we were still very interested to note that, for many questions, the results didn’t vary a great deal between age groups.

Over-55s are pretty satisfied with their sex lives – but they’d still like more sex

For example, older people who took our survey reported being on average almost as satisfied with the amount of partnered sex in their lives as younger people (46% of over-55s compared to 49% for all age groups). However, over two thirds (69%) of over-55s were still planning to have more partnered sex in the coming year.

In some areas the over-55 age group reported more interest than the 18-34 age group, for example over-55s were more likely to buy sex toys for their partners and were more likely to own 5-9 sex toys than 18-34-year-olds.

Some older people revealed they had become interested in sex toys and sexual experimentation later in life. For example, nearly a third (31%) of 75+ customers said they had bought their first sex toy after their 75th birthday. Over half (53%) of over-55s said they were more sexually open and experimental than they were a decade ago. And the top sexual activities the over-55s were most interested in learning about were masturbation (37%), prostate and anal play (39%), and senior sex (58%).

Over-55s are important members of the sex toy-buying public

We invited our mailing list to participate in this survey and we were pleased to discover that a third (33%) of respondents were over 55, including subscribers aged over 75 giving us their thoughts. We feel that that in itself shows that contrary to the stereotype, older people have an active interest in sex, and are a key part of the sex toy buying public. In fact, a fifth of the toys we sell on our website go to customers aged 55 and over.

With the figures around sex toy ownership and buying, sexual satisfaction and sexual openness in over-55s close to the averages for all ages, it seems that the idea sexual interest declines as we get older may not be the whole story.

The main difference between under- and over- 55s seemed to be that older people may have started to experiment sexually later in life than younger generations. Perhaps those born between 1940 and 1965 felt more sexual stigma as young people than those growing up in later decades. And with 58% saying they wanted to learn about senior sex, older people clearly want sex information specific to their bodies.

Senior sex education is needed and wanted

While older people can experience as much sexual pleasure as younger ones, they may have to adapt for issues such as menopause, stiffer joints and erectile dysfunction. My own experience talking to older customers and senior sex experts for the past nine years at Hot Octopuss is that information and tools addressing these issues can make all the difference to one’s sex life as one gets older.

But few sex toy companies discuss any of this, or represent older people in their marketing, and perhaps that’s where this misapprehension about older people being less sexy comes from. As an industry, we’re acting as though older customers don’t exist and are not working to meet their specific needs.

It’s a huge oversight on the part of the sex toy industry as a whole, because according to these results, over-55s are extremely interested in buying sex toys!

Over the coming year we’ll be focusing more on issues that affect older people and sex, including erectile dysfunction and perimenopause/menopause.

In the meantime, here are more of those stats: enjoy!

Stats about sex and ageing

Over-55s had results similar to the averages for all age groups in key questions, for example:

  • 4% of over-55s had never owned a sex toy compared to 3% overall.
  • 65% buy sex toys for their partners compared to 70% overall, 50% of 18-24-year-olds and 61% of 24-35-year-olds.
  • 11% buy sex toys for their friends, the same as the overall average.
  • 41% own more than five sex toys, compared to an average of 49% for all age groups.
  • Over-55s rated their level of sexual openness at 65%, compared to an overall figure of 67%. This is higher than 18-24-year-olds (54%).
  • 46% are happy with how much partnered sex they have, compared to 49% for all age groups. This is higher than for 18-24-year-olds (38%) and 35-44-year-olds (45%).

Other key stats about over-55s and sex

  • 39% recommend sex toys to their friends.
  • 31% of our 75+ group owned more than 10 sex toys, compared to an overall figure of 21%. And more 55-74-year olds owned between five and nine sex toys (28%) than people in the 18-35 groups (24%).
  • 32% of over-55s are planning to experiment with kink in the future.
  • 75% are planning to experiment with masturbation.
  • 50% are planning to experiment with prostate/anal play.
  • 8% are planning to begin to experiment with same-sex partners.
  • The topic they most want to learn more about is senior sex (58%).
  • But a good proportion want to learn more about kink (26%), masturbation (37%), and prostate/anal play (39%).
  • 69% plan to have more partnered sex in the coming year.
  • 31% of 55-64 year olds bought their first sex toy aged 45 or older.
  • 46% of 65-74 year olds bought their first sex toy aged 45 or older.
  • 69% of 75+ year olds bought their first sex toy aged 45 or older.
  • In fact, 31% of 75+ year olds bought their first sex toy aged 75 or older.
  • 53% of over-55s say they are more sexually open/experimental than they were a decade ago
  • 21% of over-55s are planning to buy more sex toys this year than last year.

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