Studies Show Seniors Still Have Plenty of “It” Left in the Tank
Seniors have gotten a bad rap for having low sex drives, even being relegated to the realm of fictitious figures. But study after study has shown that not only do seniors enjoy healthy sex lives well into their golden years, but talking about it makes everything better.
Last month, NBC ran an article using data from a study performed in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed surprising results: seniors like having sex, and they’re still having lots of it. At least a quarter (26%) of seniors aged 75 to 85 have had sex with a partner in the previous year, reporting to do it at least two or three times a month. That number doubles for the next youngest age bracket, 64 to 75, and leaps to 73% for seniors/boomers aged 57 to 64.
What seniors are doing has also drawn notice, with more than half of the 57 to 75 age bracket saying they’ve given or received oral sex, with the number dropping slightly to a third for 75 to 85-year-old seniors. The study’s purpose, while also highlighting that seniors are not the sexless septua- and octogenarians they’re purported to be, is to show their sex lives are indicators of good health: a sudden drop off in sex may indicate health problems, like diabetes, cancer or infections.
Ease of Attainability
Some of the age- and health-related problems seniors face do make it more difficult to have sex, like CNN reporting low desire (43%), difficulty with vaginal lubrication (39%) and inability to climax (34%). Men’s biggest hurdle was difficulty getting or maintaining an erection (37%), while women said it was the lack of a partner, as they typically outlive men.
A common reason to chalk up the increase of STDs in seniors is threefold: retirement communities are becoming more like college campuses, there’s not as much safe sex education geared toward seniors, and seniors are living longer and healthier lives.
The second reason isn’t quite that seniors are clueless about safe sex, but the main reason for using condoms- to protect against pregnancy- doesn’t apply to them anymore. Further, a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that senior men who use Viagra are six times more likely to forgo condoms, compared with men in their 20s.
However, how the data on seniors and STDs is interpreted can make for two separate arguments. The first is that actual numbers aren’t increasing very much (e.g. syphilis rose from 105 to 123 cases in seniors aged 65+ over 4 years), and that STDs are still firmly in the realm of the young.
The other way to look at it is through percentages, e.g. chlamydia increased 25% in seniors aged 65+ over the same four-year period. So in the first argument, the numbers are overexaggerated by assigning a small numerical increase to a large population, while the second argument says otherwise.