It’s often thought that your sex life diminishes with age, but a new study suggests that getting down and dirty can help elderly people to feel more content with their lives.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and UCL have found that sexual activity is associated with improved well-being among older adults.
Dr Lee Smith, a co-author of the study, said: “Previous research has suggested that frequent sexual intercourse is associated with a range of benefits for psychological and physiological wellbeing, such as improved quality of life and mental health, and lower risk of certain cancers and fatal coronary events.
“Health professionals should acknowledge that older adults are not asexual and that a frequent and problem-free sex life in this population is related to better wellbeing.
“However, encouragement to try new positions and explore different types of sexual activities is not regularly given to ageing populations.
“The findings of our study suggest that it may be beneficial for physicians to query geriatric patients about their sexual activity and offer help for sexual difficulties, such as problems with erections, as sexual activity helps older people live more fulfilling lives.”
“If encouraging and supporting people to continue to enjoy a healthy sex life in old age could help to boost well-being, there may be benefits both for the individual and for the sustainability of health services.”
In the study, the team analysed data from 6,879 older adults living in England.
The data revealed that older men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous 12 months had a higher life enjoyment score than those who weren’t sexually active.
For women, kissing, petting and fondling was linked to higher enjoyment in life, while for men, it was sex that really improved their happiness.
Dr Sarah Jackson, a co-author of the study, said: “Promoting wellbeing in later life is a public health priority.
“We know that psychological well-being is intricately linked with physical health, and as the population continues to age, the burden on health services increases.