Sex for older people in recovery can be just as satisfying as when younger. Indeed, as recovery progresses sexuality often improves.
Sex remains an important part of life for many older people even as they develop more sexual and health problems as they age. Investigators conducted in-home interviews with 1,550 women and 1,455 men from July 2005 through March 2006
“Interestingly, this study suggests that sexual practices and behaviors are not very different in this age group than they are in studies of younger people,” said Stacy Lindau M.D., reporting results of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project survey.
Regardless of age, sexual activity is closely related to health. “At any age healthier people are more likely to report active sex lives,” she said.
Forty percent of men and 34% of women ages 57 to 64 said they had sex at least once a week. Frequency declined with age, but at ages 75 to 85, 22.8% of men and 23.6% of women maintained this level of sexual activity.
At all ages intercourse was the most frequent type of sexual activity, with 91.1% of men and 86.8% of women ages 57 to 64 saying sex usually or always included intercourse.
Sixty-two percent of men and 70% of women said they had at least one problem that affected sexual function. About a third avoided sex as a result of these problems. Problems included diminished libido, erection, and for women lubrication, pain and lack of pleasure.
More than 80% of men and close to 90% of women who described their health as very good to excellent said they had an active sex life with a spouse or romantic partner. This dropped to 60% of men and 80% of women who described their health as poor but still having sex.
About 15% of all older people said they were using medication to “treat sexual problems or enhance sexual function.”
Good news, but, among men and women who said they had sexual problems ranging form diminished libido to erectile dysfunction, only 28% said they had discussed those problems with a physician.
Reference; Lindau ST et al “Gender, Age, and Health Differences in Sexuality at Older Ages: A National Population-Based Study.” P8 American Geriatrics Society
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