Aging doesn’t stop people from enjoying an active sex life, a study finds.
Perhaps Woody Allen wasn’t entirely right when he said, “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”
For one thing, a high proportion of men and women over the age of 60 aren’t giving up sex, according to a U.S. survey. In fact, a significant number said they were intimately active well into their 70s and 80s.
The survey, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, is thought to be the most comprehensive one of its kind among people aged 57 to 85. The survey involved two-hour face-to-face interviews with 3,005 men and women from across the United States.
Frisky way past their 50s
The survey found that barriers to sex, if any, had more to do with health problems or lack of a partner rather than age.
The findings, researchers say, debunk stereotypical ideas about sex and aging.
“There are a lot of people who feel that age is very tightly correlated with sexual activity or interest,” researcher Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago told the BBC. “But it turns out that healthy people are sexually active if they have a partner, and that this is an important part of the quality of life.”
Despite sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction and lower desire, many adults are sexually active, the survey said. In fact, sex with a partner in the last year was reported by:
• 73 per cent of those aged 57 to 64
• 53 per cent of those aged 64 to 75
• 26 per cent of those aged 75 to 85
Of those who said they were sexually active, most reported they were having sex at least two or three times a month.
Other key findings:
• Women at all ages were less likely to be sexually active than men. But far more were widowed and/or lacked partners.
• People who reported “excellent” or “very good” health were nearly twice as likely to be sexually active as those in poor or fair health.
• About 50 per cent of people having sex said they had at least one related problem. Most common in men was erection trouble (37 per cent); in women, low desire (43 per cent), vaginal dryness (39 per cent) and inability to have an orgasm (34 per cent).
• Only one out of seven men said they used Viagra or other substances to improve sex.
• Only 22 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men had discussed sexual problems with a doctor since age 50.
Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, BBC, Medical News Today
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