A new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine indicates that sexual activity is associated with improved wellbeing amongst older adults, measured through higher enjoyment of life scores. It found that older men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous 12 months had a higher life enjoyment score than those who were not sexually active. For older women, a greater frequency of kissing, petting, and fondling was associated with a higher enjoyment of life, as was feeling emotionally close to their partner during sex.
Is sex for older adults just as commonand just as satisfying, as it is for younger adults? In the past, not much research in this area existed. People assumed that, as people got older, sex became a thing of the past.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Young adults may deny older relatives are having sex, but sexual activity is a strong indicator of healthy aging and vitality. In fact, sexual activity is roughly equal to climbing two flights of stairs.
Nothing is further from the truth. Sex at midlife and beyond is a subject mired in confusion and misinformation. Here are some common myths, and the straight story about sex after
Horny old broads, dirty old men. These commonly used terms speak volumes about how society views older people who are interested in sex. Experts say such derogatory labels reflect a deep level of discomfort in our youth-oriented culture with the idea that seniors are sexually active.
Men and women want, and need, to experience a physical expression of intimacy, closeness and love no matter what their age. A need for intimacy is core to what makes us human, it's literally hardwired into our DNA. But while the desire for some form of physical connection is there, older couples have to accept and adjust to the reality that their bodies have changed with age.
While certain health conditions can affect the libido and sexual capacity, many people still want and need intimacy, or have sexual desires, as they grow older. However, there seem to be taboos and preconceived ideas about the sexuality of older adults. Sexuality is defined by the World Health Organization as encompassing sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.
Back to Sexual health. Many people enjoy an active sex life well into old age, with some couples reporting that sex gets better with age. Your sexual desires and appetite for sex can change over the years for many reasons.
The need for intimacy is ageless. And studies now confirm that no matter what your gender, you can enjoy sex for as long as you wish. Naturally, sex at 70 or 80 may not be like it is at 20 or 30—but in some ways it can be better. As an older adult, you may feel wiser than you were in your earlier years, and know what works best for you when it comes to your sex life.