Does old age necessarily dim your sexual appetite, even when your physical capabilities are no longer the way they used to be? Well, it seems that the latest research shows that love and affection truly stand the test of time as most people’s sex lives improve with middle age.
A report by the International Longevity Centre UK suggests many couples remain sexually active into their eighties and nineties. Interviews with more than 7000 over-fifties found we tend to be more sexually satisfied over the age of eighty than when in our fifties, sixties or seventies.
Couples become closer, with stronger emotional bonds and growing sexual capability. Although people tend to have sex less often as they get older, their sex is likely to get better. And they discovered that women in particular, find it easier to become aroused in their eighties than in their sixties and seventies.
Scientists from the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University suspect that this is partly because relationships strengthen with age but it might also be because retired couples do not have the distractions and stresses of middle age; when they might also have children still at home and elderly parents of their own to look after.
The researchers, whose report is called ‘How Long Will I Love You?’ also found people were happier if they had a more active love life, right into their nineties. Those who kissed, cuddled or touched intimately at least once a day had a higher life satisfaction score than those who only did so two or three times a month, the academics found. And as people age they tend to report being emotionally closer, be more likely to share their partners’ sexual likes – and yet at the same time feel less obliged to have sex.
Baroness Sally Greencross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre said: ‘We know that many men and women remain sexually active throughout their lives and that intimate relationships in later life can continue to have a positive impact on overall health and wellbeing.’
‘Unfortunately in 2017, there is still a need to dispel myths around relationships in later life,’ research author, Dr David Lee of the University of Manchester said. ‘We know that positive sexuality and intimacy throughout the life course is linked to higher levels of happiness and wellbeing – irrespective of age.’
He stressed that all couples are different and some people’s sex life may dwindle as they get older particularly if they have health problems. But he said on the whole sexual happiness increases. ‘Part of this may be because the longevity of a relationship may be playing a role – they have known each other a long time and be more likely to know what works for them,’ he said.
Having fewer work and family responsibilities may also play a part for some couples. Dr Lee said: ‘Some people said their sexual lives were curtailed in their fifties because they still had children at home. Sometimes qualities of life improve as you get older.’ Dr Lee said the findings contradict the belief that the elderly do not have a sex life – an assumption which means they miss out on good sexual health care. ‘Older people have a right to good sexual health care and should be able to easily accept joined-up services to help them meet that goal.’
This is very reassuring. Old people probably need sex to counteract the possibilities of boredom; to make their lives more pleasurable and to maintain their bodies in good working order. It’s all in the mind.
So Oldies, get going and show how good you are! You need not despair for life always has its many surprises.