Getting older doesn't mean an end to sex

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2007

A recently published study from the University of Chicago has focused on the sexual behaviors and sexual function of aging Americans. It completely destroys the myth that older generations are either not able to engage in sexuality or not interested. Americans, both men and women, are indeed pursuing sexual activity well into their 60s, 70s and 80s.

This national survey is based on the participation of 1,550 women and 1,455 men between 57 and 85 years of age, questioned during a two-hour face to face interview. All participants in good health reported sexual activity; women, in general, were less likely than men at all ages to state that they were sexually active.

Two facts are clear: sexual activity does decline with age and is definitely affected by a person’s health. Poor health of a person or a person’s partner may be the single most quoted reason identified with sexual inactivity. In the preceding 12 months, 73 percent of all surveyed participants ages 57 to 64 - 53 percent of them ages 65 to 74 and 26 percent of them ages 75 to 85 - said they were sexually active. Among participants reporting good or excellent health, 81 percent of men and 51 percent of women reported sexual activity during the past year. In sharp contrast, only 47 percent of men and 26 percent of women who rated themselves in fair or poor health reported having been sexually active during that time.                         

Further, half of all sexually active respondents reported certain sexual problems. Among women the most prevalent problems was low desire (43 percent) or difficulty with vaginal dryness (39 percent). These two problems are clearly interrelated.

Women who suffer from vaginal dryness find sexual activity uncomfortable or even painful, so they shy away from it. This often causes tension, even serious problems with their partner. Obviously, these women are not aware that problems of vaginal dryness can easily and instantly be remedied with the use of a vaginal moisturizer such as Very Private ® Intimate Moisture, an FDA approved intimate moisturizer that practically duplicates a woman’s own moisture (see It is also true that many women shy away from discussing sexual problems with either their partner or their physician.

Among men the most prevalent sexual problems were difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection (37 percent), lack of interest in sex (28 percent), climaxing too quickly or not at all, and performance anxiety. Lack of good communication applies to men as well, so it is obvious that more openness among couples, better education, and information exchange between patient and doctor can go a long way to improve sexual happiness and fulfillment.

Without voicing the problems we harbor, including sexual issues, intimacy and sexual pleasure are bound to erode. We have to share them with our medical or love partners in a trusting, open way to find solutions together. This is especially true for men and women in an ongoing relationship where health and other dynamics always change. The more we are able to share what makes us feel good, the way in which our partner can please us, the more likely we are to enjoy mutually satisfying intimacy. Sexuality at any age can be a wonderful gift of life, as these findings prove.

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