That’s people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, says TCD
Sexual activity at an advanced age could be the key to a longer, healthier life, according to new research carried out at Trinity College Dublin.
A report by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) found that maintaining sexual relations can have positive implications on a person’s health and their perceptions towards getting older.
It also found that frequent sexual activity is the norm for older Irish people, with almost six in ten of the 8,000 adults surveyed reporting that they have had sex in the past 12 months. Of those, 36 per cent said they were sexually active once or twice a month, while 33 per cent said they were sexually active once or twice a week.
Lead author of the report and TILDA researcher Joanna Orr said the findings represented a positive step in addressing the issue of sex in later life.
“Our research shows that sexual activity is an important part of life for many of those aged 50 and over in Ireland, including significant proportions of those in their 60s, 70s and beyond,” she said. “Continued research into this area is not only important for understanding the links between sex and health and happiness, but also to dispel the myth that sexual activity is incompatible with advancing age.
“It is important that health and social care professionals working with older populations are capable of respecting this aspect of individuals’ lives, and take this into consideration when giving advice and making decisions regarding their wellbeing.”
Figures showed that being sexually active is less likely in older age groups with three quarters aged 50 to 64 being so compared to just 23 per cent of those aged 75.
In terms of the difference in genders, men reported more sexual activity than women at all ages, while the decline in women’s sexual activity with age was more rapid than in men. Researchers suggested that this was in part due to the fact that women are more likely to be widowed than men at older ages.
The study also found that older Irish adults maintain strong ties with their partner, with the majority of respondents (68 per cent) reporting that they shared a very close relationship. Many added that living with a spouse or partner was a key determinant in whether they were sexually active – 75 per cent of those who were married or cohabiting had had sex in the past 12 months, compared to 34 per cent of single, separated or divorced respondents and 13 per cent of widowed respondents.