Old Sex Is New?

boomer coupleGood old New England Journal of Medicine -- I knew we could count on them. They just put out a study that says old people can have an active sex life well into their 80s. There’s some good news. I thought sex organs sloughed off around age 70, never to be seen again, but a survey of 3,000 U.S. adults ages 57 to 85 begs to differ.

Specifically, about half to three-quarters of those surveyed say they remain sexually active, and that’s impressive when you consider that many people in that age bracket are faced with sexual problems or the loss of a partner. Interest in sex remains high and nude boomer couplefrequency is surprisingly stable among those who are physically able and still partnered.

According to Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago, who led the study, "There's a popular perception that older people aren't as interested in sex as younger people. Our study shows that's simply not true. Older people value sexuality as an important part of life."

Not surprising at all is the fact that healthier people had the highest rates of sexual activity, but the study seems to also support the idea that a healthy sex is in itself a way to remain healthy and vibrant. Sex is not only a great form of exercise, it may also help to release endorphins that are responsible for a sense of well-being, and doesn’t feeling loved make everyone feel better? Don’t need a study for that conclusion.

Some other highlights:

  • More than half of those aged 57 to 75 said they gave or viagrareceived oral sex, as did about a third of 75- to 85-year-olds.
  • Sex with a partner in the previous year was reported by 73 percent of people ages 57 to 64; 53 percent of those ages 64 to 75, and 26 percent of people 75 to 85.
  • Of those who were active, most said they did it two to three times a month or more.
  • Women at all ages were less likely to be sexually active than men. But they also lacked partners; far more were widowed.
  • People whose health was excellent or very good were nearly twice as likely to be sexually active as those in poor or fair health.
  • Half of people having sex reported at least one related problem. Erection trouble for men (37 percent); for women, low desire (43 percent), vaginal dryness (39 percent) and inability to have an orgasm (34 percent).
  • One out of seven men used a drug to improve sex.
  • Only 22 percent of women and 38 percent of men had discussed sex with a doctor since age 50.

One other notable fact -- these people were happy to talk about their sex life. The study required a 2 hour face to face interview and yet had an unusually high 75 percent response rate. Now we just need to get doctors to talk to their patients about it more.

So maybe we can’t stop the aging process, but good sex never gets old.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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