Older men more interested in sex than older women: Study

by Guest Contributor on March 11, 2010

in Dementia, Family Conflict, Power of Attorney

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Older men more interested in sex than older women: Study
By: Mark Iype
Canwest News Services March 9, 2010

Men can expect to be sexually active until they hit 70, while women remain sexually active until about 66, the study led by researchers at the University of Chicago found.
Women may live longer, but it appears men are more likely to go out with a smile.
A study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal found that the sex lives of men tend to significantly outlast those of women, even though women live about five years longer.
Men can expect to be sexually active until they hit 70, while women remain sexually active until about 66, the study led by researchers at the University of Chicago found.
Meanwhile, researchers found that only half of women aged 75-85 who remained sexually active rated their sex lives as “good,” and only 11 per cent of all women that age reported regularly thinking about or being interested in sex.
“Men have more interest in sex and seem to be happier with the quality of their sexual activity, and the gender gap only widened with age,” said lead researcher Stacy Tessler Lindau, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
Men tend to have younger partners, said the study.
The research focused on two large American surveys, the National Survey of Midlife Development, involving about 3,000 adults aged 25 to 74 and completed in 1996, and the 2006 National Social Life Health and Aging Project, involving another 3,000 adults aged 57 to 85.
Participants provided information about their relationship status and rated the quality of their sex lives and how often they had sex.
While the study confirmed what has been widely reported in recent years — elderly people are having sex — the gender differences are striking.
“We live in an ageist society, and sex-lives are often about attitudes,” Lindau said. “Older women are seen as asexual.”
Lindau said some of the contrast can be attributed to the introduction of medications that help men with sexual health.
When the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra was introduced in 1998, it quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, and one of the top sellers in the pharmaceutical industry.
Lindau said the popularity of the Viagra advertisements, most famously with former U.S. presidential candidate Bob Dole acting as a spokesman, helped prompt a sort of age-related sexual renaissance.
The recent death of an elderly retiree prompted some brothels in Switzerland to train their prostitutes to use defibrillators to help prevent their clients from dying in the throes of passion.
Audrey Miller, a social worker with Toronto-based Elder Caring, a consulting group that helps families and organizations deal with aging issues, said sexuality doesn’t really change when people get older.
“I see it as no different,” she said. “There might be different issues, medical issues, but they can be addressed.”
For women, she said the biggest problem is that they outlive their spouses.
“Where do they find a new companion after decades with the same person?” she asked.
While the study shines light on some of the issues with aging and sex, it remains a topic that some people are uncomfortable discussing, said Lindau.
“Until attitudes change, things will probably stay the same,” she said.

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