According to an Australian study, an increasing number men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s are sexually active. Over 40 percent of these sexually active men would also like to have sex more often. This is a growing trend among older men, and it doesn’t show signs of reversing.
The Australian researchers surveyed approximately 2,800 men aged 75 to 95. About half of the men said that sex is an important part of their lives. One third of the men reported having sexual intercourse at least once in the last 365 days. The results of the study appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Zoe Hyde is the lead researcher. She works at the Western Australian Center for Health and Aging. Hyde says that people don’t often talk about the sexual behavior of older men. Many people think that men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, are not sexually active. To date, there hasn’t been much research on this topic. But Hyde believes that plenty of older people are interested in sex.
The research shows that sex isn’t only for young people. Many older adults want to have sexually fulfilling relationships. In fact, Hyde believes that it’s an important quality of life issue for many men older than 70.
As part of the study, the researchers interviewed the men on 3 separate occasions between 1996 and 2009. The men answered questions about their sexual health and behavior. All of the study participants were located in a town in western Australia. None of the men lived in long-term care facilities. Approximately 75 percent of the men were married or in a long-term relationship.
The results indicate that while older men want to have sex, health problems can prevent them from actually doing it. Some study participants suffered from conditions such as prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. Other men had partners with limited physical ability or lack of sexual desire.
Dr. Eric De Jonge is an expert at the Washington Hospital Center. He says certain prescription medications can prevent older people from having sex. Antidepressants and beta-blockers are known to decrease sexual activity among older couples.
It may be that many doctors overlook this common side effect. They assume that older men are no longer sexually active. Dr. De Jonge says that if you’re concerned about your sexual health, you should talk to your doctor about it. In some cases, your doctor may be able to adjust your medication.
There’s no doubt that older men enjoy having sex. But the survey also showed that sex isn’t always the most important consideration. Many older men must overcome severe illness or deal with other disruptive life events. Sex tends to be less important to men in those situations.
How do older women feel about sex? Experts believe that it would be interesting to survey women in the same age group. More information could help researchers understand how older couples create healthy, mutually satisfying sexual relationships.