Dating and intimacy

Having healthy intimate relationships throughout our lives are an important factor in increasing our health and wellbeing. Therefore, it can be important to continue working on building strong bonds with our partners as we age. 

Generally, older adults report fewer arguments and disagreements with intimate partners than younger couples. One reason is that, over time, we get to know our partners better – we have a better understanding of their needs, values and goals. 

Intimate relationships can also reduce feelings of loneliness and depression in later life. Dating can increase our health and wellbeing and help us to feel more connected to those around us. Therefore, exploring intimate relationships is one good way to help prevent loneliness. 

Did you know? Many older people find greater satisfaction in sexual relationships than when we were younger 

Our relationships with our partners continue to evolve and change as we grow older and there are many ways that we can continue to actively enjoy our sex lives. If it ever becomes difficult, it is always a good idea to speak to an expert (such as a psychologist or counsellor). It can also be helpful to talk about these issues openly with our partners. 

As our bodies and sexual desires change as we age, it is important to continue to understand and support each other. Discussing our desires openly can lead to discovering new aspects of our relationships and develop deeper intimacy and connection together.

In this video, older people discuss their relationships and share advice and tips that they have learnt along the way.

Safe sex reminder

Age does not protect us from sexually transmitted infections, and it is important to continue using condoms or other barrier methods during penetrative sex to prevent an unwanted infection. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor about any concerns. 

Tips for entering the dating scene

Many women still have a strong desire for sex and intimate partnership later in life and there are many ways to seek this out. Before we do this, here are some things to think about: 

What am I looking for in a partner?

As we age, what we want from relationships might change. For some, we might not be thinking about marriage or a long-term partner. For others, we may want this still. Think about what you want from a partner, whether it is long-term, short-term or just someone to chat with. This helps in finding the right person and the right kind of relationship for you. 

How would I like to meet new people?

The internet has become a popular way to meet people and there are dating apps that help us find like-minded people. It’s okay if online dating isn’t for you. Meeting someone in person is still always an option. 

How can I meet new people in real life?

Think about joining a local club or group. If you have an activity you enjoy, such as gardening, playing card games or crafts, you can join a local community group. As well as providing the opportunity to meet potential romantic partners, they are also great ways to make new friends.  

You can find these groups by looking at your local council’s website. Facebook is also full of local groups that can be found by using the search function. 

How do I know if a dating app is safe to use?

It is recommended to do some research to make sure a dating app is safe before signing up, as some apps may not be as trustworthy as others. Keep a lookout for suspicious profiles and to report these to the app. 

Some recommended online dating apps that are catered towards older people and LGBTQI+ friendly are: 

There is no “normal” when it comes to dating and intimacy later in life. Women usually have wider social circles than men, which can make us less eager to date later in life. If you are looking for more information on other types of relationships, see Social connections: Family, friends and community for women as we age. 


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