Please identify two issues that are associated with human sexuality in middle adulthood.

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One more issue which compilcates sexual intimacy in middle age is the lack of energy at the end of the day to do anything but rest.  Most of my friends often agree that with the busyness of life these days, it is difficult if not nearly impossible to return home each evening in anything but a state of pure exhaustion.  I don't know if this is true for single people without children, but those of us with kids have to juggle work, kids (school and daycare transportation), sports schedules, lessons of all kinds (musical instruments, gymnastics, dance, language, tutoring, etc.), and the general hustle and bustle of keeping up a household (laundry, meals, cleaning, and schedule management of every family member).

Exhaustion is a major factor in little to no sex life as a middle aged femaile.  I suppose, to some extent, this may answer the reason why some men (however much it is wrong to break the sacred vow of remaining faithful to your spouse until death do you part) seek affairs to satisfy their sexual desires since their wives are too tired to engage them.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One only needs to watch the television for an hour, pretty much any time of day, to see advertisements for drugs that treat erectile dysfunction in men. Based simply on the frequency of these advertisements, it is reasonable to conclude that ED is pervasive among men in middle age.

I think that it is entirely feasible to speculate that the epidemic of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity in the United States has impacted older men and exacerbated the incidence of ED. Overall physical fitness and health has an impact on one's sexual abilities and desire, whether you are male or female.

For women, the issue is more complex, but one physical symptom that arises in middle age for many women is dryness in the genital area. This is a relatively simple problem to remedy, and there are several products available for topical application. The underlying issue is whether the woman's sexual partner is devoting sufficient time to preliminaries, which can take care of the problem naturally in some women.


dastice eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A huge sexuality issue for middle-aged people is a decrease in sexual desire.  Physical causes for this decrease include erectile dysfunction in men and symptoms of perimenopause in women.  Mental/emotional causes include stress, fatigue, and boredom.  For couples who have been together for a long time, sex often becomes routine and feelings of intimacy decrease.

Erectile dysfunction is in itself a major issue, as in many cases the desire is there but the ability to perform (or to perform in the same manner as before) is not.  This is not uncommon, but can still lead to psychological issues for both the man experiencing it and his partner.  Men tend to feel insecure because they are "losing it" and women tend to feel like it has something to do with them (i.e. their partner is no longer attracted to them), which creates insecurities in them as well.

For both of these issues, it is wise to seek both medical and psychological counseling.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Middle adulthood is a fairly large range, so there are a number of possible issues with sexuality that can arise in those years.  Men in those years are more likely to retain weight and have poorer circulation overall than their younger counterparts, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.  Women have either reached or at the end of their childbearing years, and because of the stress on the body's systems, changes in hormonal levels with both age and pregnancy and actual changes in the pubic area, some women find sex less pleasurable or lose interest.

Most people also forget that sexual relationships are indeed relationships, and that they need nurturing and care and attention, so as many couple neglect this aspect of their relationship after they've been married for a while, they often find they have less desire to restart it, and the frequency of sex drops off.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about all the single people in middle adulthood, a phenomenon much more common now than at any other time in history. Whether widowed, divorced, or never married, this is a group which has unique issues with sexuality. 

The physical issues are probably the same as mentioned above; however, not being in a committed relationship would obviously curtail sexual behavior, at least to some degree. 

For women in this situation, the problems are exacerbated by that infamous biological clock.  Knowing the likelihood of having one's own children is diminishing can't help but have an impact on a single woman's sexuality.


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Has anyone heard of the so-called "seven year itch" that effects relationships? This is based on research that shows that statistically one person in a relationship is unfaithful on average in the 7th year of that relationship. This perhaps points towards the difficulties that humans have in terms of fidelity and in sustaining meaningful relationships over long periods of time.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to say in todays world obesity may have a bigger impact on the sex lives of middle aged people than anything else. Of course to go along with the obesity are the other diseases as mentioned above. Something that has not been mentioned is the affect of certain medications that may be used to treat other issues and their effect on the sexual well-being.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Divorce is common in our society today. This means that around middle adulthood, many people find themselves newly single. This can cause challenges because they are out of practice with dating and might have children as well. Being single and dating again are big adjustments.
thewanderlust878 | Student

This is a very interesting topic to talk about. I'm sure many adults who are in the middle-adulthood age are not quite as happy to talk about it as I am. Fortunately for me I am not even close to middle-adulthood, but alas, I will reach it soon enough. 

On to the question... From what I have researched, a decrease in the desire to have sex is a huge problem, especially for women. This could be caused by the problems that start to arise in middle-adulthood; aging being the root of it all. 

Weight gain, energy loss, arthritis, etc, are all problems that could start to develop during this time. Which could easily cause the decrease in sexual desire. 

Hope this helps!

flordeloto | Student

Hi. I want to know: What do you consider as "middle age"? If is the life span considered between 40 to 60 years more or less, it is a quite looong time. There are crucial differences in those  20 years! For some people it is the time when they just think of as the adequate moment to have their children, for others it means the time to be grandparents. Some changes are due to biological reasons, like menopause in women. Others are cultural. Decisions we make in our personal lives, as for example, prioritizing our career or our family life or maybe the time to begin a new family. 

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