Once you’re past a certain age, you might be tempted to think that you’re (to use an ageist term I hate) “all washed up.” Indeed, people over 65 often tell me stories of the passion they experienced when they were younger, only to then sigh, look down, and sadly say that time in their lives had passed. And common perceptions feed the myth that once you hit your grandparent years, your days of orgasms are over.
Well, that’s simply not true, and I’ve got the facts to prove it.
The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,002 people between the ages of 65 and 80 for the the National Poll on Healthy Aging and found that a whopping 40 percent of them were sexually active. Not only that, 73 percent of them are satisfied with their sex lives (indicating that some people who aren’t having sex are fine with it, which is totally OK too).
Granted, the rate of sexually activity does decrease with time. Of those polled, 46 percent of those ages 65-70 said they were having sex, compared to 39 percent of those aged 71–75 and 25 percent of those aged 76–80.
There was also a bit of a gender divide in the results. Fifty-one percent of men reported engaging in sexuality activity, versus only 31 percent of women. This aligns with the gender divide of desire, however, since half of men said they were still “very” interested in sex, versus only 12 percent of women.
Possibly because of the social discomfort surrounding senior sex, however, only 17 percent of older adults said they have talked with their doctor or other health care provider about sexual health in the past two years, which suggests that medical professionals need to be a little more proactive about broaching the subject with them.
“Sexual health among older adults doesn’t get much attention but is linked closely to quality of life, health and well-being,” U-M’s Erica Solway, Ph.D., co-associate director of the poll said in a press release. “It’s important for older adults and the clinicians who care for them to talk about these issues and about how age-related changes in physical health, relationships, lifestyles and responsibilities such as caregiving, affect them.”
The big takeaway is that, if you are older and still interested in sex, you aren’t “washed up” or “over the hill.” Great sex is out there, and all you have to do is find it. And for help doing just that, check out these 40 Ways to Have a Health Sex Life After 40.
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