A positive outlook can change one’s perspective about many things, especially those beyond our control. Appreciating the cup’s fullness rather than lamenting what might be missing is often the key to enjoying all that life has to offer – and a positive outlook about aging is no exception. A recent study found that an optimistic attitude about getting older is associated with greater satisfaction with one’s sex life; and in a society that tends to equate sex with youth, the findings are encouraging for older adults who plan on enjoying satisfaction in their sex life well into older age.
According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, a new study out of the University of Missouri’s College of Education and Human Development used responses from 1,000 couples over the age of 50, rating their responses about self-perceptions of aging and satisfaction with their sex lives over a period of 12 months. The study included a broad definition of sexual activity that included cuddling, kissing and fondling as well as intercourse and oral sex.
Positive perceptions of aging among both men and women were associated with more self-reported frequent sexual activity and greater satisfaction with their sex lives. How older adults felt about aging – if they agreed with statements like “with age comes physical decline” or “I expect to become more lonely with age” were found to be linked with sexual satisfaction. The study helps encourage a more open dialogue about sex in older age, which is not often discussed even with a doctor and breaks down ageist stereotypes surrounding sexuality.
By embracing the many positive aspects of aging, older adults can not only improve their health and overall well-being, but their sex lives may also benefit. A positive attitude towards aging also helps promote healthy lifestyle choices like regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and engaging socially which all support successful aging. Not sure where to start? Staying positive becomes easier with practice – try keeping a gratitude journal to help stop negative thoughts or use affirmations to reinforce a positive mindset. Meditation using positive language and spending time with other optimistic people can also help promote positive thinking that supports healthy aging, reduces stress and helps create resiliency.