What is Sexual Wisdom?

Sexual wisdom is a variable that affects sexual satisfaction. Let's take a look at its characteristics and what the experts say.
What is Sexual Wisdom?
Laura Ruiz Mitjana

Reviewed and approved by la psicóloga Laura Ruiz Mitjana.

Last update: 11 March, 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in regard to sexuality, and not simply the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity”. There are many variables that affect it, among which is what’s known as sexual wisdom. Let’s take a look at what exactly it is and how it’s related to satisfaction on this plane.

The term sexual wisdom has gained popularity in recent years, both from the media point of view and from researchers (therapists, psychologists, sociologists, and others). It’s sometimes referred to as sexual knowledge, and it’s an essential part of everyone’s positive sexual experiences.

The characteristics of sexual wisdom

Sexual wisdom is not exclusive to age.
Mature people are usually associated with sexual wisdom, although it is not an aspect exclusively linked to age.

This concept was popularized as a result of a study published in The Journal of Sex Research in 2017. In it, researchers tried to unravel the variables behind the quality of sexual life and aging. In general, aging has always been associated with a gradual deterioration in the quality of sexual life.

Despite this, the study found that, when all related variables are taken into account, there’s a positive relationship between age and sexual satisfaction. In principle, as a person ages, quality, not quantity, becomes more important. It’s then suggested that during aging, a series of skills and strategies are acquired to enhance sexual well-being.

Sexual wisdom has multiple manifestations. Specialists divide it into two types: Personal sexual wisdom and wisdom about sexual health. In the first case, reference is made to the knowledge one has of their individual sexual preferences, and in the second, to knowledge related to reproduction, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases.

How someone with sexual wisdom stands out

Depending on the number of experiences that are accumulated in life, the person will have a deeper knowledge of these two types of sexual wisdom. We’ll leave you with some ways in which it affects the sexual well-being of a person or a relationship:

  • Interest in asking about the likes, dislikes, and preferences of their sexual partner.
  • Having open attitudes when wanting to add new sexual experiences.
  • A tendency not to focus sexual intercourse exclusively on penetration.
  • Open attitudes when wanting to talk about sex.
  • The implementation of a series of habits that affect their sexual performance (diet, exercise, and others).
  • Interest in the sexual pleasure of their partner, and not only one’s own.
  • Curiosity when learning about sex through books, videos, and other specialized materials.

These are just some manifestations of sexual wisdom, although as expected, it has many others. Those who exercise it also have a greater commitment when practicing safe sex, which translates into a healthier and more responsible experience for both.

The sexual wisdom in youth.
It’s likely that the dynamics of sexuality in young people are influenced by the presence of new technologies.

A work published in JAMA Network Open analyzed the frequency of sexual activities and the number of partners of Americans between 2000 and 2018.

Specifically, the researchers collected data from 4,291 men and 5,213 women to analyze sexual frequency, and a total of 4,372 men and 5,377 women to do the same with the number of sexual partners. The results showed a significant decrease in both variables.

For example, the percentage of men ages 18-24 who reported no sexual activity in the past year increased from 18.9 to 30.9%. A decrease in weekly sexual frequency was also reported, which went from 51.8 to 37.4% (men between 18 and 24 years old), 65.3 to 50.3% (men between 25 and 34 years old) and 66.4 to 54.2% (women between 25 and 34 years). For more information, see the cited study.

These results are consistent with other works that warn that sexual frequency and the number of sexual partners have decreased in recent years. There’s even talk of a sexual recession, one that’s known to be more accentuated among those who are part of the millennial generation born during the 1990s, generation Z, and the iGen.

If we contrast these data with what we exposed at the beginning, we can elucidate that sexual wisdom is less established in the new generations than in their predecessors.

There are many variables that affect the process: The culture of sexual formation through adult films, the isolation that comes from the use of new technologies, the commitment to digital interactions instead of face-to-face encounters, and others.

Final thoughts

Sexual wisdom is a term that debunks the theory that sex deteriorates as you age. Specialists found that, instead of age, the availability of the partner and the state of health are what determine the gradual decrease in sexual frequency with age.

Sex is a central component of life satisfaction, and it doesn’t have to deteriorate as a person gets older.

  • Forbes, M. K., Eaton, N. R., & Krueger, R. F. (2017). Sexual quality of life and aging: A prospective study of a nationally representative sample. The Journal of Sex Research, 54(2), 137-148.
  • Freak-Poli R. It’s not age that prevents sexual activity later in life. Australas J Ageing. 2020 Jun;39 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):22-29.
  • Seifen T, Shaw CM, Smith CV, Johnson LR. The More You Know: Sexual Knowledge as a Predictor of Sexual Well-Being. J Sex Marital Ther. 2022 Mar 24:1-10.
  • Twenge JM, Sherman RA, Wells BE. Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18. Arch Sex Behav. 2017 Feb;46(2):433-440.
  • Ueda P, Mercer CH, Ghaznavi C, Herbenick D. Trends in Frequency of Sexual Activity and Number of Sexual Partners Among Adults Aged 18 to 44 Years in the US, 2000-2018. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Jun 1;3(6):e203833.

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