Dilemma: is it normal to still have sexual desire in your 80s?

Katharine Whitehorn / 03 February 2016

Agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn hears from a widowed man in his 80s who is worried that his sexual desire and masturbation is abnormal.



Dilemma: masturbating in my 80s

I am a widower nearly 82 years old. Occasionally I get strong desires for sex, and find relief by giving myself a rub. Is this abnormal?

No one seems to talk about this. Usually I feel guilty and bad for my lack of self-control.

I do not hurt anyone except my own self-esteem.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

Don’t feel guilty. Even in 1959 the notoriously prissy Woman’s Own answered a letter such as yours with the words: “What you describe is not unusual and few would consider it wrong.”

Unless you have religious scruples, you would have doubts about only pleasing yourself if you were in a loving relationship, and it made you less responsive to shared sex. 

In more than one book on sex in later life the advice is to take your time and enjoy it rather than rush and feel ashamed.

Find out about men, ageing and sex: how it changes.

Our readers say...

We also asked our Facebook followers for their advice...

"I would think it's quite normal to have the desire in the eighties, just as it was in the fifties, sixties and seventies?"

"Why not? It's just down to an individual's biological makeup, personality, health etc I'd have thought."

"Why on earth wouldn't it be?"

"If it's not normal then I'd be happy to be abnormal."

"What an awful word normal is."

"I hope so!"

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