Do Women or Men Age Faster and Better? (2023)

Females, overall, live longer than males. But who ages faster? Who ages better? A lot of variables go into life expectancy and how you look, feel, and function as you age.

This article explores the differences in aging between the two most common sexes, considering life expectancy, appearance, healthcare use, hormones, sexual function, and brain aging.

Do Women or Men Age Faster and Better? (1)

Beyond Male and Female

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. However, the studies cited in this article have looked only at cisgender (cis) males and cis females. It's difficult to extrapolate from them how being transgender or elsewhere on the sex/gender spectrum would affect your life expectancy, overall health, and experience of aging—especially if you've had hormone therapy and/or fully transitioned.

Life Expectancy

It's a simple fact that, almost everywhere in the world, females live longer than males. Experts have different theories for this.

One theory is that males die younger because they often participate in more dangerous activities and tend to have more dangerous occupations, like being in the armed forces. Statistially, that explains some, but not all, of the differences.

POPULATIONLIFE EXPECTANCY
All Americans77.8 years
Males75.1years
Females80.5 years

Healthcare

Another theory is that females are more likely to go to healthcare providers for preventive care or when something might be wrong. That means their medical problems may be diagnosed earlier, giving them a better chance of recovering.

If this theory is accurate, seeing their healthcare providers more often may help males live longer.

Cancer Screenings

Regardless of your biological sex, you need screening for cancers that affect your reproductive organs. The tool at Healthfinder.gov shows which tests are recommended for you.

Appearance

It's a stereotype that men age "better" than women. However, there is some science behind this.

It has to do with collagen, a protein found in skin and connective tissues. It's what makes your skin elastic, which is associated with how young you look. The human body loses collagen as it ages, which is why skin takes on a different appearance.

Males lose collagen earlier and more consistently throughout life. Females tend to keep more until menopause, when they lose it at a dramatic rate.

So while males slowly, gradually look older, females experience a more sudden, marked change in how old they look.

Sex Hormones

Sex hormones affect how you age. Both male and female hormones decline as you get older.

It's a bit misleading to label hormones as male or female, as everyone has some of each type, but at varying levels determined by biological sex.

Androgens

Male hormones are called androgens. The primary androgen—testosterone—helps regulate muscle mass, bone mass, and overall physical function. As it drops off, you naturally become weaker and less able to perform physical feats. Lower testosterone is also tied to:

  • Increased belly fat
  • Balance problems
  • Higher fall risk
  • More frequent injuries

Additionally, it can contribute to chronic conditions such as:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Kidney and liver disease

The more testosterone levels drop in males, the shorter their lifespan.

In females, androgens play a role in the production of estrogens, which are the primary female hormones. So declining androgen levels lead to declining estrogen levels. They're also linked to:

(Video) Men age faster than women, according to new study

  • Impaired sexual function
  • Lessened physical performance
  • Weight gain
  • Cognitive declines
  • Emotional changes
  • Bone loss

Researchers still have much to learn about the role of testosterone on female health.

Estrogens

For most of their lives, females have about four times more estrogens than males.

In females, estrogens are responsible for:

  • Development of reproductive organs
  • Growth of the uterine lining (endometrium)
  • Sexual and reproductive function
  • How your body uses carbohydrates and other fats

In males and females, estrogens:

  • Lower the inflammatory response to injuries
  • May protect against oxidative stress, which is believed to contribute to many chronic illnesses
  • Protect against muscle damage and promote muscle repair
  • Enhance growth and recovery of cells
  • Play a role in muscle strength and nervous system health
  • Maintain bone health

All of these functions decline as estrogen production drops. In males, that happens gradually. Meanwhile, during the first year of menopause, females lose about 80% of their estrogen production.

Once again, males steadily experience the effects of advancing age while post-menopausal females take a dramatic step.

Sexual Function

Given the close ties between sex hormones and sexual function, it should come as no surprise that male sexuality changes slowly while female sexuality changes significantly after menopause.

The common belief that male sexuality peaks at 18 and female sexuality peaks much later is true. Male testosterone levels are highest at 18 and then steadily drop for the next several decades.

For females, sexual desire increases just before estrogen levels (and fertility) begin to drop. This generally starts in the late 20s and continues until perimenopause (the hormonal shift that happens before menstrual cycles stop), which is generally in the 30s or 40s.

Males and females both see drops in sexual interest in their 50s because of physical changes due largely to hormones. That can lead to:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Less male ejaculate
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Less orgasmic pleasure
  • Lower overall sexual function

Even so, sex drive and sexual function generally remain strong through the 50s. For many people, serious declines in sexual desire and performance come in their 60s or later.

Importance of Sex

In one study, 40% of woman over 60 had a low sex drive but still said sex was an important aspect of their lives.

What to Expect From Your Sex Life as You Age

Brain Aging

Brain aging is also different for males and females. Everyone's brain shrinks with age, and the brain's metabolism slows down, as well.

In both cases, changes appear to happen faster to the male brain. According to a 2019 study, the average male brain is about three years older, in functional terms, than the average female brain.

Cognitive impairment appears to have different causal factors for males and females, as well. It's more common in men who:

  • Are overweight
  • Have diabetes
  • Have had a stroke

It's more common in females who:

  • Are dependent on others for daily tasks
  • Lack a strong social network

While researchers can make these generalities, they note that the course of natural brain aging varies significantly from one person to the next.

Other Factors

Many other factors affect your lifespan plus how you look, feel, and function as you age. They include:

  • Genetics
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle (socioeconomic status, sleep quality, physical activity levels, etc.)
  • Environment (where you work, where you live, the amount of pollution you're exposed to, etc.)

Of those, genetics is the only one you can't change. To improve the others, start by talking to your healthcare provider about what healthy changes you can make.

Centenarians and Aging

People who live to the age of 100 or beyond are called centenarians. Studies suggest females are more likely than males to live that long.

Among centenarians, research has found some sex-based differences:

(Video) How Women and Men Age Differently: Why do Women Age Faster?

  • 24% of males and 43% of females are “survivors" (meaning they survived at least one age-related illness before age 80).
  • 32% of males and 15% of females are "escapers" (meaning they haven't had any major health conditions).
  • 44% of males and 42% of females are "delayers" (meaning they didn't have any major diagnoses until after age 80).

Males who make it to 100 are much more likely to have escaped age-related health issues, while female centenarians appear better able to endure long-term illness.

Summary

When it comes to different aspects of aging, males fare better in some regards and females do better in others.

Females tend to have longer lives (even making it to 100 more often), a "younger" brain age, and more frequent visits to healthcare providers, which may mean diagnosing illnesses earlier.

In appearance and sexual function, males tend to have slow, gradual declines. Females tend to have rapid declines after menopause.

Many factors influence how you age. Some of them are out of your control, such as genetics and declining hormone levels. Others—including nutrition, lifestyle, and environment—you may be able to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

7 Steps for Disease Prevention and Healthy Living

15 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Provisional life expectancy estimates for January through June 2020.

  2. Kelsey TW, Li LQ, Mitchell RT, Whelan A, Anderson RA, Wallace WH.A validated age-related normative model for male total testosterone shows increasing variance but no decline after age 40 years[published correction appears in PLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0117674].PLoS One. 2014;9(10):e109346. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109346

  3. Easton JA, Confer JC, Goetz CD, Buss DM.Reproduction expediting: Sexual motivations, fantasies, and the ticking biological clock.Personality and Individual Differences. 2010;49(5):516-520. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.018

  4. Kalra G, Subramanyam A, Pinto C.Sexuality: desire, activity and intimacy in the elderly.Indian J Psychiatry. 2011;53(4):300-306. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.91902

  5. Delamater J.Sexual expression in later life: a review and synthesis.J Sex Res. 2012;49(2-3):125-41. doi:10.1080/00224499.2011.603168

  6. Tufts Medical Center.Aging and sex drive.

  7. Goyal MS, Blazey TM, Su Y, et al. Persistent metabolic youth in the aging female brain [published correction appears in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Mar 12;116(11):5198].Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(8):3251-3255. doi:10.1073/pnas.1815917116

  8. Espeland MA, Carmichael O, Yasar S, et al. Sex-related differences in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes.Alzheimers Dement. 2018;14(9):1184–1192. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.05.015

  9. Fu C, Li Z, Mao Z. Association between social activities and cognitive function among the elderly in China: A cross-sectional study.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(2):231. Published 2018 Jan 30. doi:10.3390/ijerph15020231

  10. Ren J, Zhang Y. Genetics and epigenetics in aging and longevity: Myths and truths.Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2019;1865(7):1715-1717. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2019.02.005

  11. Roberts SB, Silver RE, Das SK, et al. Healthy aging-nutrition matters: Start early and screen often [published correction appears in Adv Nutr. 2021 Jul 30;12(4):1597-1598].Adv Nutr. 2021;12(4):1438-1448. doi:10.1093/advances/nmab032

  12. Dominguez LJ, Veronese N, Vernuccio L, et al. Nutrition, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors in the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.Nutrients. 2021;13(11):4080. Published 2021 Nov 15. doi:10.3390/nu13114080

    (Video) DO WOMEN AGE FASTER THAN MEN

  13. Bektas A, Schurman SH, Sen R, Ferrucci L. Aging, inflammation and the environment.Exp Gerontol. 2018;105:10-18. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2017.12.015

  14. Evert J, Lawler E, Bogan H, Perls T. Morbidity profiles of centenarians: survivors, delayers, and escapers. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003;58(3):232-7. doi:10.1093/gerona/58.3.M232

  15. Population Reference Bureau. Around the globe, women outlive men.

Additional Reading

By Mark Stibich, PhD
Mark Stibich, PhD, FIDSA, is a behavior change expert with experience helping individuals make lasting lifestyle improvements.

FAQs

Do males or females age faster? ›

Women live longer than men. Yet, it is believed that men do not age faster than women but simply are weaker at every age. In contrast, I discuss that men age faster. From evolutionary perspective, high accidental death rate in young males is compatible with fast aging.

Why do some women age fast? ›

Genetics. Not surprisingly, genetics play a significant role in how quickly a person ages. Skin thickness, vascularity, and melanin production are all influenced by a person's ethnicity and will determine how quickly wrinkles and damage appear.

Why do men age so fast? ›

It has to do with collagen, a protein found in skin and connective tissues. It's what makes your skin elastic, which is associated with how young you look. The human body loses collagen as it ages, which is why skin takes on a different appearance. Males lose collagen earlier and more consistently throughout life.

Why do men look better as they age? ›

Men Have Higher Collagen Density

Regardless of age, men also have a higher collagen density than women. According to the Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology, because collagen loss is directly related to the signs of skin aging, it has been said a woman's skin is about 15 years older than a man's of the same age.

Why do men age so well? ›

Men's Hormones Last Longer

When it comes to aging, women's levels of the estrogen hormone begin to decline much earlier and much more quickly than men's levels of the testosterone hormone do. This quicker decline in hormone levels is the reason that men seem to age much more slowly than women do.

What is the most beautiful age of a woman? ›

The study, carried out by Allure magazine, found women are considered most beautiful at 30, show signs of ageing at 41, stop looking 'sexy' at 53 and are thought of as 'old' at 55.

At what age are men most attractive? ›

- In the study, men's desirability peaks at age 50. But women's desirability starts high at age 18 and falls throughout their lifespan.

What age do men start looking old? ›

As far as the female or male aging timeline, the biggest changes typically occur when people are in their 40s and 50s. However, it's not unlikely to notice changes in your mid to late-30s, as well. Some of the first signs of aging are droopy skin, smile lines, and wrinkles. These changes can be jarring, but natural.

How do you know if a woman will age well? ›

Signs That You're Aging Well
  • You Have Fewer Wrinkles. One of the most apparent signs that you are aging well is having fewer wrinkles. ...
  • You Heal From Acne Quickly. ...
  • You Have Minimal Hair Loss. ...
  • You Don't Have Sunspots. ...
  • Your Skin Stays Hydrated.

What part of the male body are females most attracted to? ›

Women stated that their favorite part of the male physique was their chest at 24%. This was closely followed by hair 22% and arms at 19%. For the ab crowd, 13% prefer defined upper abs and 9% prefer the v-cut. Eyes, face, and legs came in at 3%, 2%, and 1%, respectively.

What attracts a woman to a man? ›

In most cases, women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. Funny men are sexier than bland ones. Seen as a sign of intelligence, a good sense of humour is instrumental in getting a woman interested in you. Don't be too serious, make her laugh and see how drawn she would be to you.

What age do women start to age? ›

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years.

What people age faster? ›

When it comes to aging, some people are just luckier. Genetics play a significant role in how fast you age, so if your parents aged really well, that may be the case for you too. Your skin's thickness, color, and vascularity can determine how quickly damage or signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles appear.

What makes women look older than their age? ›

This doesn't just include wrinkles, but things like dry skin and tired eyes, which can both be avoided. Reddit user Redhaired103 posted in /r/AskWomen that dark circles, pale skin, puffy eyes, and heavy makeup can also make you look older.

At what age do women's looks fade? ›

For Caucasian women, it's typically around the late 30s. "This is when fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes, less-elastic skin, and brown spots and broken capillaries from accumulated sun damage crop up," says Yagoda. If you're a woman of color, the tipping point is more likely in your 40s.

At what age do girls fall in love? ›

And it turns out that for most people it happens when they're quite young, with 55 percent of people saying they first fell in love between the ages of 15 and 18! Twenty percent of us then fall in love between the ages of 19 an 21, so around the time you're at university or working your first real job.

How long do beautiful girls last for? ›

Beautiful Girls (film)
Beautiful Girls
Running time112 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$10.6 million
10 more rows

What age do you start to feel old? ›

According to the research, the average American starts feeling old at the age of 47. Similarly, the average respondent starts to really worry about age-related bodily changes around 50 years old.

What age is the prime of your life? ›

Crudely speaking, you may conclude that you are at your sexual peak in your 20s, your physical peak in your 30s, your mental peak in your 40s and 50s and at your happiest in your 60s – but these are just averages, so your own trajectories may follow very different paths.

Do guys get more attractive with age? ›

The notion that men get more attractive with age is not exactly true, according to developmental psychologist Michelle Drouin says. And yet, a recent study found that, at least in the online dating world, women reach peak desirability around age 18. Men peak at age 50.

What makes a face look younger? ›

Drinking enough water each day replenishes your skin's tissue and cells, allowing for younger and healthier looking skin. Another key to maintaining a youthful appearance is to simply get some rest! When you sleep, your body continuously releases hormones that promote cell turnover and renewal.

At what age does your face change most? ›

Most people begin to notice a shift in the appearance of their face around their 40's and 50's, with some also noticing a change in their 30's. But with these physical changes brought on by aging also comes a change in the appearance of our face - Luckily, there is treatment available.

Can you tell a woman's age by her hands? ›

Overall, the physical characteristic which most commonly gave away age was prominent hand veins. In altered images where hand veins were removed, participants significantly felt hands looked younger. Fullness and a lack of wrinkles and veins characterized the youngest looking hands.

What happens to the female body at 60? ›

Your skin turns drier and itchier and may look like crepe paper or tissue. Wrinkles, age spots, creases, and bruises become more noticeable. Your sweat glands also get less active. That means you might not sweat as much, but wounds on your skin may take longer to heal.

How can you tell a man's age? ›

Search public records and data. An easy way to find out how old he is to search public records and data. Websites like Intelius give you free, public access to basic information about people, including their age. Just type in his name and location, and you're all set.

Do guys prefer face or body? ›

Men who were given the chance to 'design' their perfect partner for a long term relationship overwhelmingly chose an attractive face over an attractive body. Not surprisingly, men who designed their partner for a short term fling chose a hot body over an attractive face.

Do girls like a big chest? ›

A Big Chest

"Women treasure your chest as much as you do theirs," says Emily Dubberley, a sex expert based in the UK. "Touching, kissing, and licking a man's chest is undoubtedly a turn-on for most women."

What does a woman notice first about a man? ›

The study found that the first thing women notice upon passing a man on the street is the eyes. The magazine also provided a top five, so we all know exactly what we need to work on.

What are the three words to impress a girl? ›

18 Ways To Keep Your Girlfriend Happy With 3 Little Words
  • I love you. In this generation, hearing those words is everything. ...
  • You're the one. This one is a no-brainer right here. ...
  • Just kiss me! ...
  • Unlimited hot pizza... ...
  • You're the G.O.A.T. ...
  • I miss you. ...
  • Pack your bags! ...
  • Good morning, beautiful.
30 Jun 2015

What words can attract a man? ›

You are so good to me.” “My life is so much better with you in it.” “You are the first real man I've met in a long time.

What type of guys are most attractive? ›

Some of these include:
  • Being clean-shaven.
  • Good health and healthy lifestyle.
  • Taking good care of themselves.
  • Mindful men who care about the welfare of others.
  • Men who engaged in risk-taking.
  • Prominent men in the royal society.
  • Men with desirable reproductive traits, such as hip ratio and physical attractiveness.
8 Oct 2022

At what age do females start aging? ›

For Caucasian women, it's typically around the late 30s. "This is when fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes, less-elastic skin, and brown spots and broken capillaries from accumulated sun damage crop up," says Yagoda. If you're a woman of color, the tipping point is more likely in your 40s.

At what age are men most attractive? ›

- In the study, men's desirability peaks at age 50. But women's desirability starts high at age 18 and falls throughout their lifespan.

What age do men start looking old? ›

As far as the female or male aging timeline, the biggest changes typically occur when people are in their 40s and 50s. However, it's not unlikely to notice changes in your mid to late-30s, as well. Some of the first signs of aging are droopy skin, smile lines, and wrinkles. These changes can be jarring, but natural.

What age is considered old for a woman? ›

When are we considered old? For women, the old age threshold is about 73; for men, 70. Scherbov layers his concept of prospective age with another quality, which he calls “characteristic aging.”

What age do you start losing your looks? ›

In Your 40s

More skin laxity and sagging, especially around the jawline and jowls, happens as well, along with smile lines," she adds. "Our cheeks also begin to lose more volume and our temples become more hollow." In other words, your 40s are often the real turning point.

What makes a face look older? ›

With age, that fat loses volume, clumps up, and shifts downward, so features that were formerly round may sink, and skin that was smooth and tight gets loose and sags. Meanwhile other parts of the face gain fat, particularly the lower half, so we tend to get baggy around the chin and jowly in the neck.

Why do women's necks age? ›

As the body ages, it loses collagen and elastin. This is why our skin starts to look wrinkly or droopy. Constant movement of the neck is a contributing factor to loss of collagen and elasticity.

What physically attracts a woman to a man? ›

Male-specific factors. Women, on average, tend to be more attracted to men who have a relatively narrow waist, a V-shaped torso, and broad shoulders. Women also tend to be more attracted to men who are taller than they are, and display a high degree of facial symmetry, as well as relatively masculine facial dimorphism.

What part of the male body are females most attracted to? ›

Women stated that their favorite part of the male physique was their chest at 24%. This was closely followed by hair 22% and arms at 19%. For the ab crowd, 13% prefer defined upper abs and 9% prefer the v-cut. Eyes, face, and legs came in at 3%, 2%, and 1%, respectively.

What is the best age in human life? ›

At 23, life satisfaction is at its highest.

All things considered, 23 is the magic number for feeling particularly satisfied with your life. The conclusion is based on a survey of 23,000 people in Germany.

Do guys get more attractive with age? ›

The notion that men get more attractive with age is not exactly true, according to developmental psychologist Michelle Drouin says. And yet, a recent study found that, at least in the online dating world, women reach peak desirability around age 18. Men peak at age 50.

What makes a face look younger? ›

Drinking enough water each day replenishes your skin's tissue and cells, allowing for younger and healthier looking skin. Another key to maintaining a youthful appearance is to simply get some rest! When you sleep, your body continuously releases hormones that promote cell turnover and renewal.

How much sleep does a 75 year old need? ›

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But, older people tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did when they were younger. There are many reasons why older people may not get enough sleep at night.

What is middle age for a man? ›

middle age, period of human adulthood that immediately precedes the onset of old age. Though the age period that defines middle age is somewhat arbitrary, differing greatly from person to person, it is generally defined as being between the ages of 40 and 60.

What happens to your body at age 70? ›

Age spots and wrinkles are no surprise, but you may also find that you bruise more and sweat less. Your skin may be drier and more paperlike. It might be itchy and more easily irritated, too. It can help to switch to gentler soap and use moisturizer and sunscreen regularly.

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