Even in our senior years, having sex regularly — or even just fooling around — can significantly improve well being and contentment. This, according to Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and University College London. They found seniors who reported any type of sexual activity within the previous 12 months felt greater levels of enjoyment and satisfaction in their lives compared to sexually inactive individuals. Results were based on survey data from 6,879 participants in England who were 65 years old, on average.
“The findings of our study suggest that it may be beneficial for physicians to query geriatric patients about their sexual activity. When advisable, they should offer help for sexual difficulties, such as problems with erections. Sexual activity helps older people live more fulfilling lives,” says Dr. Lee Smith, a reader in exercise medicine at Anglia Ruskin.
Smith and co-author Sarah Jackson found differences for men and women based on the type of sexual activity. Older women may improve their wellbeing more from intimate touching than from having sex. Specifically, women who reported a greater frequency of kissing, petting, and fondling felt more satisfied in their lives. They also felt emotionally closer to their partner during sex, but intercourse did not significantly improve their overall levels of enjoyment or satisfaction in life.
Conversely, older men who were happy with their sex lives and had intercourse more frequently reported greater enjoyment in life.
In other words, having sex was more crucial for older men to feel content. Women’s well being was more connected to affectionate acts.
“Health professionals should acknowledge that older adults are not asexual and that a frequent and problem-free sex life is related to better well being. However, encouragement to try new positions and explore different types of sexual activities is not regularly given to aging populations,” says Smith.
The full study was published in the open access journal Sexual Medicine.