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Old People are Nonsexual

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"Everybody likes sex. It's a gas. We're just not afraid to admit it. Queer, straight, Black, white... It's all disco. You know why? Because one day, we're gonna be too old to fuck. And life's too short, if you ask me."
Bobby-Lynne, X

Simply put, this is the belief that old people don't have sex.

There is a longstanding idea that growing old stops sexuality dead in its tracks. This could be due to the notion that sex is too tiring for frail elderly bodies and the "equipment" no longer works. Likewise, this idea may be caused by the idea that sex is only for the young, beautiful, and fertile. Or maybe it comes from the wholesome ideal of grandparents or the idea that adults must uphold decorum and propriety past a certain age. It could also be from the stereotype that long-lasting couples eventually suffer from Dead Sparks. Or not realizing that there's no male equivalent to menopause and even very elderly men can still father children. Of course, it could simply come from the fact that many adult writers don't want to think of their parents' generation having sex.

In fiction, this stigma manifests as elderly characters being largely sterile; even December–December Romance works, which focus on elderly romance, may skimp on the hot and heavy bits of a relationship. Sexually active elderly characters will be treated as non-existent In-Universe, considered shocking or gross, or the butt of jokes. Elderly characters are more likely to wax poetic about when they were young and sexually attractive, implying that they aren't anymore.

This belief used to be prominent in LGBT+ circles. The focal characters of Queer Media would skew younger and no elderly LGBT people would be shown. This is becoming less prominent since more people of various ages have been coming out and the original population of "younger" LGBT+ characters are getting older.

This is part of why the Dirty Old Man and the Dirty Old Woman are considered off-putting or funny — not only do they unashamedly hit on characters much younger, but they're old while doing so. However, the Cool Old Guy and the Cool Old Lady will often be more liberal and "hip" about sexual attitudes, and will often imply they were sexual in their youth, whether or not they are now. This may also be a reason for Parental Sexuality Squick, once one gets the parent part out of the way.

In Real Life, this notion is becoming more and more discredited, as active sexuality is still considered a normal part of aging.

In-Universe Examples Only: Characters must express the idea that old people don't engage in intimate acts, or shock/disgust that they do, regardless of whether or not this is true for the work's elderly characters. Alternatively, an older person may outright say they haven't been having sex past a certain age, or their sex life can be played for laughs or faux horror.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Sunny Side Up Sunny sees her Gramps flirt with the lady that takes her picture for her visitor's pass and makes a disgusted face about it.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Badhaai Ho: Babli and Jeetu conceiving in middle age is a source of shock and shame, because this reminder of intimacy in middle age is highly unusual.
  • In Gods and Monsters, James Whale is an elderly, promiscuous gay man, and his gardener, whom he's sexually provoked, says Whale is too old to think about things like sex.
  • The Object of My Affection: Rodney is older, gay, and explicitly currently celibate, though it is never explained if this is a personal choice or a physiological problem.
  • Poor Things: The elderly Martha admits to the younger Bella that she hasn't gotten laid in twenty years, to the latter's horror. Bella is somewhat comforted by how Martha still masturbates, at least.
    Martha: As the years pass what is between my ears is my main concern, that between my legs less so.
  • Discussed in X, when Wayne first reassures the apprehensive Maxine that the elderly Howard's "pecker" probably hasn't gone up since before she was even born and later when Bobby-Lynne remarks that everyone eventually grows too old to screw anymore and life's too short to let that happen.
  • In The Wicker Man (1973), one of the straightlaced Sgt. Howie's first experiences on Summerisle is swinging by the local pub, where the regulars all start singing a Bawdy Song called "The Landlord's Daughter". All the dirtiest lines are sung by the oldest men present. The actual landlord's daughter is much amused, although Howie is not.

  • A man goes to a brothel but the only girl available is in her 90s. On seeing his expression of disgust, she says "Hey, I work The Oldest Profession there is, show some respect!" And the man replies "Yeah, but I didn't think I'd be dealing with one of the founding members!"


    Live-Action TV 
  • Forever gleefully averts this in "The Ecstasy of Agony" with Abraham and his twice-over ex Maureen Delacroix. They agree they're just getting better together with age. (Henry, who is Abraham's father despite looking half his age, is more worried about Abraham getting his heart broken; Abraham laughs and says, "At my age, I should be so lucky! Shows it's still working.")
  • In the US version of Getting On, the nurses scramble for what to do when they realize that two of the patients in their geriatric extended-care wing have been getting it on, something that has apparently not happened before. It is resolved through, of all things, paperwork; Dawn has to have the old woman's grown sons sign a consent form.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In one episode, Ted and Robin are squicked out about the couple in the apartment above them loudly 'bagpiping' (Future Ted used that as a placeholder in one of the rare times he held back in telling his kids something). When Ted finally has enough and goes to tell him off only to back down when he realizes they're elderly because 'good for them'. In a later episode, Robin and Barney accidentally catch her grandparents doing the deed.
  • Metrosexuality: Discussed. Max states many times that growing old is basically forbidden by queer culture.
  • In the Parks and Recreation episode "Sex Education", Leslie holds a meeting for seniors to discuss safe sex practices. At some point, Andy suddenly realizes that old people do have sex, at which point he is extremely grossed out.
  • Porridge: At one point Fletcher tells a joke about an elderly man who complains to his doctor that he and his wife aren't getting the enjoyment they used to from sex. "When did you notice this?" the doctor asks. "Twice last night and again this morning," the man replies.
  • Roseanne: Bev gets kicked out of the retirement home because she was having too much sex, much to the disgust of her daughters Roseanne and Jackie.
  • Headmaster Groff in Sex Education believes this. When his wife attempts to initiate sex after a years-long dry spell, he scoffs and dismisses it with "We're not 23 anymore, Maureen." Sex therapist Jean defies this notion, as many of her clients are older, and she gives Maureen advice on the topic.
  • Saturday Night Live: In one of the "Ladies' Man" sketches, a caller talks about the benefits of Viagra. When asked, he reveals that he's 76 and his wife is 80, prompting Leon to have a brief No. Just... No moment.
    Leon: Yeah... well, that's disgusting. Um... no, that is not good. I'm sorry. Um, but, I must say, after all those Viagra I took, it doesn't sound that disgusting, you know!
  • Sex and the City: Samantha, a woman in her 40s dating a man in his 20s, alludes to this mentality when she starts finding gray hairs, and worries that he'll stop seeing her as older and start seeing her as old.
  • Schmigadoon!: As part of the town's outdated sexuality and gender politics, Doc Lopez disallows his elderly parents from borrowing lube from him, saying they are "too old for the act of love".
  • Scrubs: A few people from a nursing home have been admitted to the hospital with a mysterious illness. When Elliot learns that it's an STD that's been spreading around the nursing home, she is grossed out. Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso meanwhile are incredibly amused, with the former explaining that thanks to new male enhancement drugs, STDs are on the rise among the elderly.
  • Sirens (US): In one episode, the guys try to get the image of a porn film involving a woman and a horse out of their heads. Then they burst in on two elderly people in the throes of passion, which grosses them out so much that they nearly accept the woman and the horse.
  • The White Lotus: Bert's son Dom and grandson Albie express disgust at his tendency to flirt with every pretty young thing he sees in Sicily. Albie asks if he can still get it up.
    Albie: It just seems like the body would naturally stop getting hоrny once you're past the age of procreation, you know? Like at 50, you would just stop.
    Dom: ...50? 50's not that old.[...]
    Bert: I'm still virile, by the way. I could still impregnate a woman.

  • Heavily averted in The Lonely Island song "Boom Box," where turning up the turbo bass on the titular boom box in a nursing home inspires its residents to immediately engage in an orgy.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Jeff Dunham's puppet Walter was pretty shocked to learn that Jeff's grandparents were still sexually active well into their 80s, seeming to be a subscriber to this trope. This could be something to do with things not getting too exciting under the sheets for Walter himself, being an old man as well. It's not helped that he's not too happy with his own marriage.
    Walter (as Jeff's grandparents): "Was it good for you?"
    "I don't remember..."
    "But we just finished!"
    "Who are you?"

  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: In this strip, Wonderella is helping an elderly couple with the young Bedsheet Ghost haunting their home. When the old woman complains that the ghost's presence interferes with sex with her husband, the ghost is so disgusted that he ascends right to the afterlife.
    Wonderella: Ghosts can't really vomit in their own mouths. He was out of options.
  • In the xkcd strip: "Ages", people 55 and up are marked with "more sex than anyone is comfortable admitting".

    Web Videos 
  • On this video called "Things Not to Say to an Old Person", one of them is "Sex?! At your age?!".

    Western Animation 
  • The Bob's Burgers episode "It Snakes A Village". Linda is disgusted upon realizing her parents live in an elderly swinger community, while her husband Bob finds it funny.
  • Futurama: Professor Farnsworth and Mom are both over a hundred years old, and any time they bring up their former sexual relationship, everybody gets squicked out. And then there's the time the crew walked in on them getting intimate...
    Fry: Nothing in here but a couple of elephant skin rugs. [realizes what's actually happening, and gasps in shock]
  • The Simpsons: Homer holds the idea that his elderly father Abe leads a celibate lifestyle. When Abe tries to help Homer's sex life with Marge, he gets horribly disgusted over the subject.