We tend to think that sexual activity slows down and ultimately stops as we end, but a new study has shown that it’s not as bad as we think – as a matter of fact, we have many misconceptions regarding sexual activity in older age. Over half of all men and almost a third of all women over 70 are still sexually active – with over a third of all people having sex at least twice a month.

Image via journal.ie

I have to admit, reading this study put a smile on my face. This is quite a problem – especially in Europe, the US and Japan – we are facing an aging of the population, but little is known about the sexual behaviors and sexual function in older age. The research on over 6,000 English participants puts the sexual activity of the elders in a new light.

“We describe levels of sexual activity, problems with sexual functioning, and concerns about sexual health among older adults in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and associations with age, health, and partnership factors”, the research writes.

Both male and female libidos tend to decline with increasing age and women tend to lose their libido faster than men. This was confirmed by this study as well. Among the most interesting findings are the problems reported – the most common problem for women was becoming sexually aroused (32 %), while for men, it was erectile function (39 %).

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Problems with sexual functioning were relatively common, but not to an extent where sexual activity wasn’t taking place. Also, despite having more problems, people reported less dissatisfaction with their sexual life. All in all, 54% of men and 31% of women over age 70 were sexually active.

“Older peoples’ sexual health should be managed, not just in the context of their age, gender, and general health, but also within their existing sexual relationship”, the study concludes.

Journal Reference: Lee DM, Nazroo J, O’Connor DB, Blake M, Pendleton N. Sexual Health and Well-being Among Older Men and Women in England: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.