Better Sex At 70

“The things that stop you enjoying sex in old age are the same things that stop you riding a bicycle – bad health, thinking it is silly and no bicycle.”  – Alex Comfort in The Joy of Sex

The number of 70 year olds that are having sex – and saying it is good sex – is increasing.  And more older women in particular are indicating specific satisfaction with their sex lives.

Swedish researcher Nils Beckman and colleagues from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden surveyed four representative population samples of 70 year olds in Sweden over 30 years.

More than 1,500 septuagenarians gave details of their sex lives for the report, published in the British Medical Journal.

Over three decades there was an across-the-board increase in the number of 70 year olds that reported engaging in sexual intercourse.

From 1971-2 to 2001-2:

  • Married men increased from 52% to 98%
  • Married women increased from 38% to 56%
  • Unmarried men increased from 30% to 54%
  • Unmarried women increased from 0.8% to 12%

Women Especially Happy, Men Less So

An increasing number of these women reported having an orgasm during sex and a decreasing number reported not having an orgasm.

Though fewer women reported low satisfaction with their sex lives, the situation was different for men – there was an increase the proportion of men who reported low satisfaction.

This could be due to the modern phenomenon of male’s accepting responsibility for sexual failure, according to the authors.

A particularly interesting finding is that when sexual intercourse stops between a male and a female, both sexes readily blame men – a similar finding to studies performed in the 1950s and 2005-06.

The researchers conclude that, “Our study…shows that most elderly people consider sexual activity and associated feelings a natural part of later life.”

Doctors Should Ask About Sex

The survey was considered especially interesting because it interviewed “ordinary’ people who were not seeking treatment for sexual dysfunction.

The researchers concluded doctors are known to be uncomfortable about asking patients questions about their sex lives.

Given that sex plays an increasingly valuable role in the lives of older men and women, Beckman and colleagues’ study reinforces the dictum that doctors should ask – and be trained to ask – every patient, regardless of age, ‘Any sexual concerns?’ “