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Maintaining a sex life

Here's another reason to try to stay healthy: It extends your sex life as you age, according to a new study.

Stacy Tessler Lindau and Natalia Gavrilova of the University of Chicago analyzed data about health and sexual activity collected by two nationally representative surveys. The surveys involved 3,032 adults aged 25 to 74 and 3,005 adults aged 57 to 85 between 1995 and 2006.

Men were more likely than women to be sexually active, report a good quality sex life and be interested in sex, the researchers said in a paper published online by a British medical journal called BMJ. Those gender differences increased with age and were greatest among those aged 75 to 85. In that group, nearly 39 percent of men but less than 17 percent of women were sexually active and nearly 71 percent of men and less than 51 percent of women who were sexually active reported having a good quality sex life.

Men and women who reported that they were in very good or excellent health were more likely to be sexually active, compared to those in poor or fair health. Middle-aged men and women in good health were about twice as likely to be sexually active, and elderly men were nearly five times as likely to be sexually active if they were in good health, Elderly women in good health were nearly three times as likely. In addition, among those who were sexually active, those who were in good health had more frequent sex, reported better quality sex and had more interest in sex.

On average, men at age 55 can expect 15 additional years of a sexually active life, while women can expect about 11 years, the researchers found.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Patricia Goodson of Texas A&M University welcomed the study, saying there was a paucity of research examining sexual activity as people age. But Goodson says the study also shows the need for more research in this area to explore issues such as the disparity between men and women.

By Rob Stein  |  March 10, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  Aging , General Health , Seniors , Sex , Women's Health  
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Comments

Sound like a chicken or the egg question. Are they healthy because they have more sex or sexy because they are in better health?

Posted by: mike27 | March 10, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

So the women stop around age 66 and the men around age 70, but who are they having sex with for 4 years if its not the women?

Posted by: ozpunk | March 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the answer to that question, Mike, is "Yes". The two go hand-in-hand. If I haven't been exercising, I don't feel quite as randy and, when I haven't gotten any in a while, I become more of a brooding couching potato.

Posted by: JoStalin | March 10, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sex? What's that?

Just kidding!

Posted by: tuzoner | March 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I wrote a question about this years ago to one of the Vuiagra, Cialis type companies. They keep discovering aids for men to have a better sexual life, but nothing for the women. This means the 70 year old guys with these great erections have to find themselves a 40 year old woman. Most 40 year old women I know are looking fora 30 year old man's body and vigor. We ALL know that 30 goes into 40 many more times than 70 goes into 40. All the researchers in this area must be male??

Posted by: Maerzie | March 10, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The URL of this article is maintaining_a_sex_life_embargo.html.

Does this mean that there are medical information sources that insist on an EMBARGO on health stories? What are the ethics of such embargos?

I mean really: "we have information that will improve the public health. But don't tell anybody yet"? People do this?

Posted by: 12008N1 | March 10, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Menopause has alot to do with it. Many women have very little or no sex drive when post-menopausal. And, some women hit menopause as young as 50 , some younger.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 10, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The lead to your article misstates the conclusion of the study, which reads as follows:

"Men in very good or excellent health on average gained 5-7 years of sexually active life compared with their peers in poor or fair health. Women in very good or excellent health gained 3-6 years compared with women in poor or fair health."

Posted by: jmb2 | March 10, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Reducing Congressman Massa's sex drive is a matter for further research.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 10, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh PUHLEEEZE...give me a break...GIVE ME A BREAK as a female now in post-menopause and facing years upon years of interest from my significant other thanks to the "virtues" of Viagara and the likes.

Leave me be..please, just leave me be.

No one has bothered to ask the question as to whether sexuality is really necessary beyond fertility...no one, and I mean NO ONE.

As a post-menopausal woman I am TIRED. While we sublimely muse on how such species as dolphins are sexually active without regard to sexual necessity, we have never bothered to ask them WHY?

Male and female sexual needs are different whether you examine them from a societal or anthropomorphic standpoint.

No one has bothered to examine those needs or those differences.

If you want the plain truth from one woman who is truly TIRED, here's the TRUTH..I "do it" (whatever IT is) because it:

A) pays the bills
B) keeps my children safe
C) affords me some sense of livability

So hey guys, consider THAT..maybe WE are using you as much as you use us.

Go put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: mlk2gm | March 10, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse


48% of black women in America have genital herpes according to a Reuters news article released yesterday.

48%. Almost half.

Posted by: screwjob11 | March 10, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Does a healthy fantasy life help? There probably is a gender difference in interest so women shouldn't feel unhealthy if they aren't having or wanting sex or their sexuality manifests differently.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | March 10, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Does a healthy fantasy life help? There probably is a gender difference in interest so women shouldn't feel unhealthy if they aren't having or wanting sex or if their sexuality manifests differently.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | March 10, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

ozpunk, I think mlk2gm answers your question quite thoroughly.

mlk2gm, I'm grateful I'm not married to you because you seem to be profoundly unhappy.

Posted by: boscobobb | March 10, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Think about that next time you're making excuses for not getting to the gym, guys.

And forget the MWF stuff, it doesn't work. If you want to stay in shape and be healthy then you go 5-6 days a week, as much a part of the routine as eating and sleeping.

Being "too tired" is backwards. You're tired because you exhaust easily. Build up your stamina.

Being in shape is qualitatively different than being out of shape, and the difference is BETTER. Everything is easier when you're in shape.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | March 10, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Glad I'm not married to mlk2gm .

Posted by: jrw1 | March 10, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse


mlk2gm:

Don't worry. If he hasn't already done so, your S.O. will soon find a partner who will take the pressure off you.

That is what you want, right?

Posted by: WylieD | March 10, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

As a postmenopausal woman--hip, hip hurray for sex without any consequences other than GREAT sex...

These age studies prove nothing--I am not my mother, who falls into this study as the "elderly" and my daughter isn't me; nor is my husband his father nor our son his father.

Each generation has undergone an entire transformation is what cultural value sex has in their lives. And for that matter my husband and I aren't anything like our age group either so there is vast difference in the Boomers then shown in this study...

Basically, this is almost total statistical nonsense....people and their enjoyment of sex can't be classed by age and type....really!

Posted by: mil1 | March 10, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the tired lady made a lot of valid points. Women's hormones aren't the same as men, and they take a nose dive when the change begins. If you are not interested in sex and not going to enjoy it, why do it? It might provide a health benefit for men, but that doesn't apply to women.

Posted by: Aine | March 10, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Gosh. What a revealing study. Next, there will be a study that shows healthy people live longer.

Posted by: rochester1 | March 10, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

"among those aged 75 to 85. In that group, nearly 39 percent of men but less than 17 percent of women were sexually active".

OK, if we believe the stats - twice as many men than women that age are having sex. If so, who are they having sex with? Either younger women, or on the average, each woman the same age is having sex with two men.

Posted by: 1230slim | March 10, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse


Don't worry. The great male die-off insures that gramps will have access to plenty of partners.

"OK, if we believe the stats - twice as many men than women that age are having sex. If so, who are they having sex with? Either younger women, or on the average, each woman the same age is having sex with two men."

Posted by: WylieD | March 10, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

People who are healthy have better physical lives than people who are not. This includes sex. How much did this study cost us? The self-evident therefore the obvious.
I see good point to be made hre for cutting ridiculous reseaarch spending.
As a matter of new fiscal responsibility, I say any time a group of sex researchers from industry or academe huddle up to push for federal research funding, say NO. They can find private sources or not.

Posted by: jmf3210 | March 10, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

this is why I have multiple girlfriends.....

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | March 11, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Sex is in the mind, and it'll stay there as long as you let it! I'll be 70 in a couple weeks, and still enjoy sex at least once a week. I'm a widow with a younger boyfriend, but my husband would've been gung-ho too. I have always looked young for my age, and one day someone asked me what the secret was. I responded "Lots of good sex! because I actually believe that's true. Sex has physiological AND emotional effects.

I would say that the women who stop enjoying or NEVER enjoyed sex are exactly the same ones who have FAKED climaxes over the years and their partners assumed they were being honest. So, it's their own fault! Ladies, if you don't teach a man how to give you pleasure, you'll be stuck with a selfish klutz your whole life.

Figure it out! Women are just much more physically and emotionally complicated. If a guy loves you, he'll learn. If he's not interested, get rid of him and find one who is!! How sad to have gypped yourself out of one of the best parts of life!

Posted by: Maerzie | March 11, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

"So the women stop around age 66 and the men around age 70, but who are they having sex with for 4 years if its not the women?"

Since husbands are often older than wives, that makes sense but maybe the old guys are having sex with each other!

Posted by: melissar2 | March 12, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Respect Your Partner's Wishes

This includes being attentive to her in the bedroom and seeing to her needs as much as your own. But it also includes listening when she may not be in the mood for sex or noticing when her motor is really running. Postpone sex if it doesn't feel right for her, or set aside other activities if she really wants it. You should expect your partner to reciprocate and be attentive to your needs as well. Make sex a choice rather than an obligation and seek out ways in which both of you can enjoy it every time you have it.

More info to a steamy sex life at:

http://bit.ly/kama-sutra

Posted by: Hotdude | March 14, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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