Keys to Sexual Bliss In Older Adults

Sexual satisfaction among older people about more than just health

| Mar 28, 2019

| Science Daily – Communication and being in a happy relationship, along with health, are important for sexual satisfaction among older people, according to new research published in PLOS ONE.

Sexual expression is increasingly recognized as important throughout the life course, in maintaining relationships, promoting self-esteem and contributing to health and well-being.

Although health care professionals are being urged to be more proactive in helping older patients achieve a satisfying sex life, there is a distinct lack of evidence to help guide practitioners.

Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University of Glasgow and UCL, the study is one of the first to look at how health, lifestyle and relationship factors can affect sexual activity and satisfaction in later life, and examine how people respond and deal with the consequences.

The researchers carried out a mixed methods study combining survey data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) and in-depth interviews with older men and women.

Out of nearly 3,500 people aged between 55-74, the survey found that one in four men and one in six women reported having a health problem that affected their sex life. (Coverage continues below the break … ) 

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Among this group, women were less likely than men to be sexually active in the previous six months (54% vs 62%) but just as likely to be satisfied with their sex life (42% vs 42%).

Follow up interviews with a sample of participants revealed that older people found it difficult to separate the effects of declining health from those of increasing age.

Ill health impacted sexual activity in many ways but most crucially it influenced whether individuals had a partner with whom to have sex. Some older people were more accepting of not having a sex life than others.

For those in a relationship, sexual satisfaction was strongly associated with both the quality of communication with their partner and contentment with their relationship. Read more. 

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