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Sex and Romance for Senior Citizens

Spanish Study of Sex Life of Elderly Finds Men Much More Active Than Women

Sex life appears to take dramatic drop after age 75 – illness, lack of partner among causes cited

April 4, 2012 - A new study published in one of the world's largest sexuality journals, the Journal of Sexual Medicine, analyses the factors that influence sexual activity amongst elderly people in Spain. The results show that among senior citizens age 65 and older 62.3% of men and 37.4% of women are sexually active.

The study based on the National Health and Sexuality Survey, included the activities of 1,939 heterosexual elderly people in 2009.

The most common sexual acts among Spain’s elderly are kisses, caresses and vaginal penetration. On the other hand, the least practiced are masturbation and oral sex. The main causes of sexual inactivity are physical illness and widowhood.

 

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They also note age differences, with more satisfied sex lives for those aged between 65 and 74 than those older than 75.

"This research lets us know the reality of a social phenomenon which is not tackled enough in Spain: sexuality and the elderly", Domingo Palacios, a researcher at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid and main author of this study, explained to SINC.

Furthermore, there are other factors that limit sexual activity in both sexes:
   ● being older than 75,
   ● not having a partner,
   ● having a low level of education,
   ● a poor perception of their own health and sexuality,
   ● suffering from two or more chronic illnesses and
   ● taking two or more types of medication.

"This can be applied to preventing illnesses and promoting health and healthy sexual practices", Palacios states. He highlights widowhood and physical illness amongst reasons why the older Spanish population do not have sexual intercourse.

Results support previous studies

This is not the first time that sexual health amongst the elderly has been measured. In 2006, a study published during the XXVI Spanish Family and Community Medicine Society (SEMFYC) Conference showed that 60% of people over the age of 65 said they had sex on average four times a month.

In that project, which was carried out with over 100 people by family doctors in Catalonia, the majority said that although their sexual intercourse had changed as a result of age, they were not "less satisfying".

Furthermore, new data backs up a survey carried out in the USA and published in 'New England Journal of Medicine' in 2008, in which 73% of Americans between 57 and 64 years of age had sex.

The number dropped to 53% for those aged between 65 and 75, and dropped to 26% for those aged 85.

 

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