Last reviewed 17 May 2022

A campaign to break down taboos around sex and intimacy in later life has published the results of new research, revealing 52% of over-65s have sex up to twice a week.

As part of its Let’s Talk the Joy of Later Life Sex campaign, the new research from the charity Relate also found that 44% of people aged 65 and over say sex is their favourite activity, followed by seeing family, at 43%, and gardening at 32%, and that one in five over 65s considered buying a sex toy for themselves or a partner in the past year.

Following on from Relate's photographic series with Rankin in 2021, which shone a light on sex and intimacy in later life, this year’s Relate campaign is focusing on sexual health in later life.

It comes as a report by Public Health England which reveals that figures for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have more than doubled in the past ten years among UK adults aged 65 and over, taking the numbers to an all-time high. Both younger and older age groups felt talking more openly about sex and sexual pleasure could help prevent STIs.

To address this, Relate has devised the idea of giving away limited edition “Hornicultural Society” vegetable-seed-packet condoms, available free from Relate and Finchley Nurseries. They are a part of a sustainable condom collection and feature some popular vegetable emojis including aubergines, plums, courgettes, onions and avocados. The company, Hanx, founded by Farah Kabir and Dr Sarah Welsh, provided the campaign’s biodegradable vegan condoms. They said they were pleased to help in encouraging everyone to “cultivate a no-blushes attitude to safe sex”.

Relate President Anjula Mutanda said we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the importance of safe sex, regardless of age, and by “bringing the sexual health debate to an unexpected environment like a garden centre, we’re once again trying to help break down taboos and get people up and down the country talking about the joy of later life sex”.

More information about the campaign is available at www.relate.org.uk.