Posted on May 03, 2018, 10 p.m.
New U-M/AARP National Poll on Healthy Aging finds links to gender differences, health, and lack of communication; while busting stereotypes of sex in older populations and highlighting the need to talk to health providers about sexual issues.
40% of participants between the ages of 65-80 are sexually active. ¾ of participants have a romantic partner, and 54% of those with a partner are sexually active. Majority are satisfied with their sex lives, and 1 in 5 older men use supplements or medications. ⅔ are interested in sex whether or not they have an active sex life, with over half saying sex is important to their quality of life. 73% of the nationally representative sample said that they were satisfied with their current sex life.
How the older population might seek advice or help for any sexual problems, and if they had talked to their doctors regarding sexual health were explored by this poll. 3% of older women and 18% of older men have taken supplements or medications to improve sexual function. 17% of participants had conversations with their doctors about sexual health, saying that they had brought the topic up, suggesting need for more proactive conversations by clinicians with older patients.
Sharp differences along age, health, and genderlines were found in the poll results. Such as of the 45% who reported being in overall good health and being sexually active, and only 22% in fair or poor health were sexually active, of which only 28% reported being satisfied with their sex lives. Those between 65-70 were twice as likely as those 70+ to be sexually active. ⅓ of individuals in their 60s were very interested in sex, and only 19% of those 70+ were very interested. Women were less likely than men to be sexually active, 31% overall compared to men at 51% active; while women were less sexually active they were more satisfied. 69% of older women said that sex was an important part of romantic relationships with 84% of men agreeing. Half of men aged 65-80 said they were very interested in sex compared to only 12% of women in the same range.
This national representative poll confirms the need and want for interest in sexual intimacy does not stop at a certain age. Most older adults would talk with their doctors about sexual concerns, clinicians should routinely ask older patients about sexual health and not assume the topic is offensive. 62% of the polled participants said if they were having a sexual health problem they would talk to a healthcare provider, but only 17% had done so, with 88% saying they would be comfortable having a conversation with a clinicians regarding sexual health.
Results are based on answers from a nationally representative sampling of 1,002 individuals in the age grouping of 65-80 years of age, in which respondents answered a variety and wide range of questions online which were written, interpreted, and compiled by the IHPI team. Internet and laptop access was provided to participants who did not have it.
Full reports on findings and methodology, along with previous polls can be found at :http://www.healthyagingpoll.org
Materials provided by Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan.
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