August 27, 2011
Getting Older Easier For Those With Healthy Sex Lives
Women over the age of 60 who are more satisfied with their sex lives also tend to have an easier time coping with getting older and tend to have a higher quality of life, according to a new study published by the Journal of the American Geriatric Society this week.
As part of the study, researchers at the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) looked at 1,235 women between the ages of 60 and 89 who were enrolled at the San Diego site of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study.
"As the researchers expected, sexual activity and functioning (such things as desire, arousal and ability to climax) were negatively associated with age, as were physical and mental health," officials from the University said in a press release. "However, in contrast to sexual activity and functioning, satisfaction with overall sex life was not significantly different between the three age cohorts studied: age 60 to 69; 70 to 79; and 80 to 89."
In fact, 67% of the 60 to 69 year old subjects, 60% of the 70 to 79 year old subjects, and 61% of the 80 to 89 year old subjects reported being "moderately" to "very satisfied" with their sex lives, the researchers discovered. The study also discovered that those in younger age groups reported having more frequent sexual encounters (70% of the youngest age group who were married or involved in intimate relationships reported having sex in a six month span, versus just 31% of the oldest).
"Contrary to our earlier hypothesis, sexual satisfaction was not significantly associated with age," co-lead author and UCSD assistant professor of psychiatry Wesley Thompson said, according to the Daily Telegraph. "Although the levels of sexual activity and functioning did vary significantly, depending on the woman's age, their perceived quality of life, successful aging and sexual satisfaction remained positive.
"What this study tells us is that many older adults retain their ability to enjoy sex well into old age," he added. "This is especially true of older adults who maintain a higher level of physical and mental health as they grow older. Furthermore, feeling satisfied with your sex life--whatever your levels of sexual activity--is closely related to your perceived quality of life."
Joining Thompson and co-lead author / UCSD medical student Lindsey Charo on the study were doctors Ipsit V. Vahia, Colin Depp, Matthew Allison, and Dilip V. Jeste, all with the UCSD School of Medicine.
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