Although people shy away from discussing it most times, but studies have shown that sexual activity is an important aspect of the human life, though it tends to drag as people get older. It has also been revealed that frequency of sexual activity can decrease with age, but sex still remains an important part of their life.
A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine has shown that frequent sexual activity can mean a more enjoyable life for older adults.
There’s a common misconception that as people age, they lose their interest in sex and capacity for sexual behavior. But as a UK survey shows, this isn’t the case.
Indeed, the survey found that 85 percent of men aged 60–69 report being sexually active as do 60 percent of those aged 70–79 and 32 percent of those aged 80 and over. Women were found to be less sexually active as they aged, but studies show that, just like men, many women also want to continue to have sex as they get older. Studies in the US report similar levels of sexual activity across these age groups.
And the fact that so many people are still having sex as they age is good news, because as our new research seems to indicate, the less sex older people have, the more likely they are to experience mental and physical health problems.
The researchers examined the sex lives of 2,577 men and 3,195 women aged 50 and older. They asked whether they had experienced a decline in the last year in their level of sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, or ability to have an erection (men) or become sexually aroused (women).
They found out that men who reported a decline in sexual desire were more likely to go on to develop cancer or other chronic illnesses that limited their daily activities. Men and women who reported a decrease in the frequency of sexual activities were also more likely to experience a deterioration in how they rated their level of health. And men with erectile dysfunction were also more likely to be diagnosed with cancer or coronary heart disease. It’s important to note, however, that changes in sexual desire or function could have been a result of early-stage, undiagnosed disease.
It was also found that older adults enjoy life more when they are sexually active. And those who experience a decline in sexual activity report poorer well-being than those who maintain their levels of sexual desire, activity and function in later life. We also found that men who are sexually active in later life continue to have better cognitive performance compared to those who don’t.
The research showed that, It’s no secret that sex can help to produce that “feel good” factor. This is largely because during sex, there is a release of endorphins, which generate a happy or elated feeling.
It went on to explain that this doesn’t just impact one’s mental health though, as higher endorphin levels are also associated with greater activation of the immune system which may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Several researches suggested that people who engage in sexual intercourse with their partners are also likely to share a closer relationship. And closeness to one’s partner is linked with better mental health.
“It’s also important to remember that sex is a form of physical activity often performed at a moderate intensity which burns close to four calories a minute. All exercise comes with health benefits and sex is no different. So it’s definitely possible that you could gain mental and physical health benefits from regular sexual activity”, the researchers stated.
Sex is not the only factor that can help to improve health and well-being in older age. But as the research shows, older adults are not devoid of sexual desire, and an active sex life is something that should be encouraged. Indeed, it’s possible that a regular and problem-free sex life can lead to better mental (and possibly physical) health.
But it may well be that such discussions could help to challenge norms and expectations about sexual activity. And as the research revealed, it could also help people to live more fulfilling and healthier lives well into older age.