The Defy Aging Newsletter
Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness
a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.
December 20, 2007 Number 178
Action to take
Appreciate that if you stay healthy, sex can last a lifetime--and that a majority of seniors are sexually active. How's that for motivation to stay healthy and good news about aging?
Traditionally older adults haven't talked much about their sexual activity. Younger adults tend to assume that old people can’t or don’t have sex. The idea of our parents or grandparents having sex can be disconcerting. What's the data say? Kinsey and Masters and Johnson's classic sex research paid little attention to seniors. There are two large scales studies:
In 1998 and with an update in 2004 AARP published Sexuality at Midlife and Beyond. The update interviewed 1,682 Americans ages 45 and older (21% were over 60). The study found a lot of men using medications like Viagra and most of their partners pleased with the new interest in sex. Despite the sexual revolution and free love 1960s, Baby Boomers felt our culture placed too much emphasis on sex and disapproved on extramarital relations in about the same proportions as their parents' generation. They were more accepting of single, divorced, and widowed people having sexual relations.
An August 2007 study reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found the following percentages of Americans were sexually active:
- 73% for ages 57-64
- 53% for ages 65-74
- 26% for ages 75-85
Among those who were sexually active, 54% reported having sex at least two or three times a month—a rate comparable to rates for younger adults.
The biggest reason for lack of sexual activity was health problems or partner health problems. For men this most commonly is comes from cardiovascular problems (often secondary to diabetes) or the side effects from medications.
Women were less likely to be sexually active in part because they were less likely to have an able partner. Lack of an able partner is largely due to the tendencies for men to marry younger women and for women to live longer than men. For men who had difficulty, by far the most common complaint involved performance issues. For women the most common problems were lack of interest, lubrication, inability of climax, and not finding sex pleasurable.
Most seniors, especially women, reported they did not discuss sexual concerns with their doctors. Other studies have shown this is true for younger adults as well.
A Norwegian study found that men in their fifties were more satisfied with their sex lives than men in their thirties or forties. (Satisfaction did decline in mens' sixties and seventies.)
The two big take-aways are that if you stay in good health, sex can last a lifetime and sexual practices among seniors are pretty similar to those of younger adults.
100-year-old Senator Strom Thurmond’s womanizing was so notorious his colleague Senator John Tower remarked, “When he dies, they'll have to beat his pecker down with a baseball bat in order to close the coffin lid.”
Viagra is the work of the devil. Now we girls can look forward to having sex with really old guys, for a really long time.
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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit www.NotAging.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."