Grown children may not want to think or hear about it, but many older adults are still enjoying an active and fulfilling sex life. In fact, a recent poll found that 40 per cent of Americans between 65 and 80 are sexually active and more than 70 per cent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their sex lives.
The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Police and Innovation Survey found that not only are seniors interested in sex, whether or not they have a romantic partner, more than half say that sex is important to their quality of life. And besides experiencing the gratification of orgasm, a healthy sex life can also help lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
Although many older adults, even seniors in their 80s are sexually active, few (only 17 per cent) have talked with their doctor about their sexual health in the past two years. Seniors who may be dealing with a chronic illness, disability or a change in hormone production could benefit from talking through their issues with their doctor or a sex therapist to enhance their intimate experiences.
Discussing sexually transmitted diseases, which are on the rise in this demographic, with a doctor is also important for older adults who may have been with one partner for many years. Believing they don’t need protection because the risk for pregnancy is no longer a concern, many seniors are leaving themselves vulnerable to STDs. This poll reminds us that older adults are still interested in sex; frank and open conversations between health care providers and senior patients is valuable to encourage the best quality of life possible.
Having sex, at least once a week, can help promote a feeling of well being by releasing oxytocin. And regular sex may also lower the risk for prostate cancer among men, can reduce chronic pain and help facilitate a better night’s sleep. Lastly, sexual activity can also burn a few extra calories, if you needed another reason to rekindle the fire in the furnace.