As men age, some of the common fears are that his penis will get smaller, that it will be too small to satisfy his partner during sex, and that he will lose sexual desire and function. While the penis itself undergoes changes as a man ages, your sex life can still be great. 

Let's first look at the life cycle of the penis.

Penis size.  As a man ages, there is a slow deposition of fatty substances (plaques) inside tiny arteries in the penis, which impairs blood flow to the organ, making the penis appear smaller during erection. Additionally, as a man ages, there is a gradual buildup of relatively inelastic collagen (scar tissue) within the stretchy fibrous sheath that surrounds the erection chambers of the penis, and sometimes there can be blockages to the penile arteries--both of which mean smaller erections.

Color. Due to reduced blood flow as a man ages, the head of the penis (the glans) gradually loses its purplish color.

Loss of pubic hair. As testosterone wanes as a man gets older, there is a slow loss of hair and the penis gradually reverts to its pre-puberty, mostly hairless, state.

Decreased sensitivity. Studies have shown that the penis becomes less sensitive over time. This can make it hard to achieve an erection and to have an orgasm. Whether it makes orgasm less pleasurable remains an unanswered.

Erectile Dysfunction (ED). As a man gets older, erectile dysfunction becomes more common. ED is the loss of ability to have and keep an erection for sexual intercourse. ED may cause a man to take longer to have an erection, his erection may not be as firm or as large as it used to be, the loss of erection after orgasm may happen more quickly, or it may take longer before another erection is possible.

How Will Aging Affect My Sex Drive?

As far as your sex drive goes, it's natural for men to notice a gradual decline in their drive as they age due to the gradual decline in testosterone. However, most men still maintain some sexual interest well into their 60s and 70s.

Experiencing a Loss of Sex Drive?

The best thing to do is talk to your doctor. A medical evaluation by a family practitioner, internist, or urologist can help determine the cause of your decreased sex drive and as a result, you can get the proper treatment, if necessary.

What about Sexual Satisfaction?

A study published last year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine involving 2,213 men in Olmstead County, Minnesota showed significant declines in erectile function, libido, and ejaculatory function in aging men--but only moderate decreases in sexual satisfaction. While sex might not the same as it was in your 20s, it can still be satisfying.

How to Maintain or Improve Sexual Satisfaction

  • Don't fall for the penis-enlargement ads. No reputable scientific research endorses or supports any type of non-surgical penis enlargement. As a result, marketers rely on testimonials, skewed data and before-and-after photos that often aren't authentic. Don't fall for this.
  • Communicate with your partner. Unless your partner tells you otherwise, assume that you're fine just the way you are. Understanding your partner's physical and emotional needs and desires is more likely to improve your sexual relationship than trying to change the size or look of your penis.
  • Don't stress. If you worry too much about the appearance of your penis or about erectile dysfunction, you can cause enough stress to trigger ED.
  • Try having sex in the morning. This way you'll be more rested and energized.
  • Don't hurry. As you age, you or your partner may need to spend more time touching to become fully aroused.

Note: If you find that you are experiencing ongoing stress about your penis size, your sex drive, or erectile dysfunction, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options.


Gades N.M., Jacobson D.J., McGree M.E., et al. Longitudinal Evaluation of Sexual Function in a Male Cohort: the Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status Among Men." Journal of Sexual Medicine. 6.9 (2009). 2455-66. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

Jung Andreas, Schill, Wolf-Bernhard. "Male sexuality and Advancing Age." European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 113.2 (2004).123-125.

Lindau Stacy Tessler, et al. "A Study of Sexuality and Health Among Older Adults in the United States." The New England Journal of Medicine. 357.8 (2007) 762 - 774.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "About Peyronie's Disease." Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

Nippoldt, Todd B. "Men's Heath: Loss of Sex Drive in Men - Natural with Aging?" Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

"Sexuality in Later Life." National Institute on Aging. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.