National poll: Older adults agree sex good for relationships

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National poll: Older adults agree sex good for relationships

Here’s one thing it looks like the majority of us can agree on. A poll conducted by the National Poll on Healthy Aging has found the majority of older adults do agree that an important part of a loving, romantic relationship is sex.

This survey confirms that the need for sex and intimacy does not stop as we grow older.  Sexual health among older adults often is neglected as many healthcare providers may not routinely inquire about their sex life and sexual health, assuming this would embarrass them.  However, sexual health is closely linked to quality of life, health, and well-being in addition to strengthening romantic relationships.

This poll surveyed a randomly selected group of 1002 older adults aged 65 to 80 years.  The purpose was to obtain their perspective on relationships and sex and their sexual health experiences.  This new poll dispels stereotypes about the sex lives of older Americans.  Major insights and revelations from this poll show:

·      76% of older adults agreed that sex is an important part of a romantic relationship at any age

·      54% of those in a romantic relationship reported they are currently sexually active

·      Nearly three-quarters of people in this age range have a romantic partner

·      Whether or not they have an active sex life, nearly two-thirds of older adults say they are interested in sex

·      More than half say sex is important to the quality of their life

·      When asked if they are satisfied with their current sex life, 73% said they are

·      18% of older men and 3% of older women take medications or supplements to improve their sexual function

·      Only 17% of older adults talk to their doctor about their sexual health

·      Those between the ages of 65 and 70 were nearly twice as likely as those in their late 70s to be sexually active

·      One-third of those in their late 60s were extremely interested in sex, compared to 19% of those in their late 70s

The poll was conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine.

This poll proves that just because we grow older does not mean sexual feelings disappear.  They are still alive and well and here are some tips on keeping the sexual fans flaming:

·      Communication is vital

Talk to your partner if you want a satisfying sex life.  Take time to be sensual and sexual together.  Share your thoughts about lovemaking helping them understand what you want sexually. 

·      Take advantage of experience

One nice thing about growing older is discovering you are more independent and self-confident.  This makes you very attractive to your spouse or potential partners. You know yourself much better than you did in your 20s/30s and your experience can make your sex life very exciting.

·      Be playful and try new ideas

When you use humor and playfulness, this makes communication even better. Use laughter, gentle teasing to help lighten the mood.  If you want to try something new, talk to your partner.  The senior years can be a time of creativity and passion.

·      Relax

To help with either erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness, find something that relaxes both of you such as giving one another massages or relaxing in a warm bath.

·      It is not only just about sexual intercourse

We tend to think of sex mainly in terms of hitting that homerun.  But sex can also be about emotional, sensory, and relationship pleasure.  Intercourse is only one way to have a fulfilling sex life and not the only way.  Consider the use of more touching, kissing, and other intimate sexual contact that can be just as rewarding for both of you.