Late-life sexuality: a British study dispels pre-conceived ideas

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A study from the University of Manchester reveals that in Great Britain, seniors remain sexually active after they turn 70 years old. The study was published in the American journal « Archives of Sexual Behavior ».

Indeed, according to a survey of more than 7.000 British seniors. A third of them have at least two sexual relationships a month.

In France, the results of a recent survey revealed that 50% of seniors experienced sexual arousal as much as they did before.

Dispelling preconceived ideas about late-life sexuality

Sexualité-des-plus-de-60-ans-300x218Contrary to popular belief, the study notes that seniors’ health and conflicting partnerships are more frequently linked to less sexual activity rather than ageing.

Moreover, among the 7.000 respondents, very few (less than 3%) refused to answer direct questions on their sexual activities and problems.

Dr. Lee, who led the research, said: “This is the first nationally-representative study to include people over the age of 80 when asking older men and women in England about their sexual health.”

We hope our findings improve public health by countering stereotypes and misconceptions about late-life sexuality, and offer older people a reference against which they may relate their own experiences and expectations.”

Underlining the diversity of late-life sexualities

Our ongoing research is also highlighting the diversity of late-life sexualities, and trying to impose youthful norms of sexual health on older people would be over-simplistic and even unhelpful.”

It is however important that health professionals act on this and are more open about discussing sexual health with older people — it can’t simply be assumed to be an irrelevance.”

The most common problems that sexually active women report are linked to sexual arousal (32%) or trouble to achieve orgasm (27%), while men often talk of erectile difficulties (39%).

Chronical health problems and unhealthy lifestyles affect men more than women. Men are more often concerned about their sexual activities and prowess than women. With age, these concerns become common.

Seniors still show displays of affection

The study from Manchester also showed than many people over 70 and 80 still displayed affection towards their partner. 31% of men and 20% of women say they still share kisses and pettings.

Among those who reported having sexual activity during the last three months, 1% of men and 10% of women said they felt obligated to have sex.

This unprecedented study in Great Britain revealed the need to introduce policies of information and prevention concerning late-life sexual practices.


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