By 2030, seniors are expected to account for almost 20% of the U.S. population. Many of today’s seniors are living active, enriching lives, getting married and remarried, and pursuing adventure well past retirement. Age isn’t what it used to be, and a new study from the University of Gothenburg Center for Aging and Health backs this up. Researchers found that seniors today have better, more active sex lives than the seniors of the 1970s. The study also shed light on a variety of sexual practices among seniors.
Improvements in Seniors’ Sex Lives
Drawing upon research from various population studies, researchers compiled data on the sexual attitudes and experiences of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. They found that the quality of seniors’ sex lives has dramatically improved since the 1970s. Back then, 41% of women and 58% of men reported being satisfied with their sex lives. Today, the figure is 62% of women and 71% of men.
Part of this may be explained by the fact seniors are having more sex. Among 70-year-olds in the 1970s, 12% of women and 47% of men reported having sex. Now 34% of women and 66% of men say they’re sexually active.
Sexual feelings persist well into late old age. Even those in their late nineties report sexual desire and feelings, and 88% of men and 82% of women report that it’s normal for doctors to ask them about their sex lives.
The research team emphasizes that caregivers need to know that sexual feelings are normal and natural, even in the very elderly. Likewise, doctors should not shy away from asking elderly people about their sex lives.
Sexual Attitudes Among Seniors
Researchers also explored sexual attitudes and practices among seniors. They found that in the older generation, sexual activity is largely fueled by men. Women whose partners experience low libido are less likely to be sexually active. The study’s lead author, Nils Beckman, hypothesizes that this may be because of the more rigid gender roles to which this generation was exposed.
Even late in life, researchers found, childhood experiences influence sexuality. Poverty, parental fights, and divorce all reduced sexual activity and desire, even as early as middle age. Spanking also negatively impacted participants’ sex lives.
- Aging statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/index.aspx
- Senior citizens increasingly satisfied with their sex lives. (2015, March 17). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150317103937.htm
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