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Ah yes, “sexual peak,” the oh-so-magical and (very specific) age during which someone supposedly has The Best Sex of Their Life.

For people with penises, this is said to be in college, while vulva owners are thought to hit it in their early 30s.

The problem? The concept of “sexual peak” (also called “sexual prime”) is a largely made-up concept!

There’s no one age in which nature gifts us with hot sex, nor is there an age when all of our sex is destined to be mediocre at best.

“People can have more than one period of time when they’re having incredible sex,” says Searah Deysach, sex educator and owner of Early to Bed.

Rather than being determined solely or even in large part by age, how freaking good (or, yikes, not good) the sex someone’s having is determined by a host of factors, including:

  • degree of comfort in your body
  • degree of comfort with your sexuality
  • level of intimacy and trust with your partner of choice
  • hormonal happenings

The age(s) when those sexual stars line up for one person may not be the same for another.

The concept of a “sexual peak” was introduced to the lexicon by OG sex expert Alfred Kinsey in 1953 with the release of “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.”

Kinsey asked folks in different age groupings how often they reached the big O. He found that cisgender boys in their late teens orgasmed more frequently than, well, cis men.

Also, cisgender women orgasmed more frequently in their early 30s than they did in their teens.

However, nowadays it’s seen as incomplete because it lacks context.

For instance, were the teen boys orgasming more because they had more time to and were simply masturbating more? Were women interviewed in the 1950s orgasming more later in life because they didn’t learn what orgasms even were until then?

Beyond that, how often someone orgasms isn’t really an indicator of how fulfilling or pleasurable someone’s sex life is.

It’s entirely possible that the best sex of your life doesn’t coincide with when you’re having it most. Quality > quantity, folks!

Many factors other than age affect the peaks and valleys of your sex life.

Your sex drive is connected to your hormone levels

Vulva owners’ estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels all influence sex drive and desire.

These hormones naturally fluctuate throughout your life due to things like:

Sex hormones are a complicated business, but the correlation between the hormones and desire generally goes like this:

  • Estrogen levels ↓, desire ↓.
  • Progesterone levels ↑, desire ↓.
  • Testosterone levels ↑, desire ↑.

Your sexual peak is a mindset, not a destination

“Growing up, most vulva owners are taught that their sexual desire and urges are something to be ashamed of,” says Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and sex and intimacy expert for SKYN Condoms.

She goes on to explain that before you can have the best sex of your life, you need to craft a headspace that makes that possible.

That means:

  • unlearning the message that sexual desire = shame
  • understanding that pleasure is a human right
  • feeling comfortable asking for what you want and need (in and out of bed)

Remember: Sex doesn’t mean just P-in-V intercourse

“Expanding what sex means to you can help you access more ways to feel sexy, experience intimacy, and explore pleasure at any age,” says Deysach.

She recommends re-framing sex to include:

There isn’t a ‘normal,’ but there are common themes across decades

“There is no specific age when all vulva owners experience a sexual peak,” says Deysach.

“Some women thrive sexually after the end of a long, unhappy relationship,” she says. “Some are able to embrace their postmenopausal selves and find whole new ways to engage sexually.”

Still, there are natural shifts that happen in the body as it changes that can impact what sex feels like.

Vulva owners’ biological drive to reproduce is in full swing in their 20s. Meaning, the body is primed for Pound Town and generally ready to get after it.

Sex tips and tricks

If your sex drive is high but sexual pleasure is low, think about who you’re having sex with.

Having sex with someone you feel comfortable expressing your needs and exploring with is a surefire way to take your sex life from zero to O.

If your libido feels a little… lackluster, ask yourself if the dip happened after going on hormonal birth control or antidepressants.

If the answer is yes, chat with your doctor about the side effects.

For vulva owners, the 30s might as well be called the Do It All decade.

It’s a time when many vulva owners are trying to build a career, sustain a (or many) romantic relationship(s), be a parent, spend time with friends, and more.

“It can be hard to make time for sex, and the stress interferes will your ability to be fully present when you do the deed,” says Deysach.

Because the entire endocrine system is connected, when your cortisol levels surge, it can throw your sex hormones out of whack.

That’s why this can be a decade of sky-high stress and ground-low libido, especially for new parents.

Heather Jeffcoat, a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in sexual dysfunction and incontinence, adds that the body goes through a temporary period during pregnancy and breastfeeding that mirrors menopause.

“There may be a decrease in estrogen that makes sex feel less good without the addition of lube,” she says. Noted.

Sex tips and tricks

Prioritize self-care! Yoga, meditating, getting your nails done, walking the dog — anything that lowers your stress levels will benefit you in the bedroom.

That’s especially true for masturbating.

Solo sex can ramp up your libido because, physiologically, the more orgasms you have the more you want,” says Deysach.

“A solo session can also help you feel sexy, which is a hard feeling to grasp when you’re stressed.” True.

The 40s are a decade of hormonal havoc, as most vulva owners enter perimenopause in their mid-to-late 40s.

Perimenopause can cause symptoms like vaginal dryness, mood changes, and weight gain, all of which can make sex physically and psychologically less comfortable and enjoyable.

Sex tips and tricks

For starters: lube!

“When vulva owners’ estrogen levels dip, they lose natural lubrication, so if they aren’t already, they need to begin supplementing with a lubricant,” says Jeffcoat.

Second, switch it up! Especially if you’re still having the same type of sex you were having in your 20s.

“You need to update what your sex life looks like in your 40s,” says Jeffcoat. “This may include different positions, more or different lube, working through psychological barriers, and incorporating more outercourse.”

The average age most vulva owners hit menopause is 51.

“Menopause can bring along changes like even less lubrication and less elasticity, which can make penetration painful,” says Jeffcoat.

Sex tips and tricks

Deysach recommends keeping an open mind and trying new things.

For example, “many postmenopausal people who find that their vaginas aren’t as elastic as they used to be may enjoy glass and stainless dildos for frictionless penetration.”

She recommends book-clubbing books like the “Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50” or “Come as You Are” with your partner for tips on how to make your sex life hotter.

“If your sex drive has tanked and it’s screwing with your well-being and happiness, speak to a healthcare professional or a therapist,” says Engle.

A doctor can rule out any underlying medical causes for the dip, and a sex therapist can help you unpack any underlying trauma, anger, stress, shame, or other negative emotion that’s squashing your sex drive.

Your age isn’t an indicator of how sexually fulfilled you are — or will be.

Are there are certain hormonal and life changes that may impact interest in sex? Sure.

Ultimately, how banging your sex life is comes down to how banging you make your sex life. Not that clock.


Gabrielle Kassel is a New York–based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.