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Sexual activity shown to be beneficial for older adults

A new study from from Anglia Ruskin University has revealed that sexual activity improves overall well-being among older adults. For the investigation, the researchers measured the higher enjoyment of life scores of nearly 7,000 adults in England with an average age of 65.

The results showed that older men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous year had a score that represented greater life satisfaction and enjoyment compared to those who did not.

“Previous research has suggested that frequent sexual intercourse is associated with a range of benefits for psychological and physiological well-being, such as improved quality of life and mental health, and lower risk of certain cancers and fatal coronary events,” said study co-lead author Dr. Lee Smith.

“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.”

Among older women, a higher enjoyment of life was associated with kissing, petting, fondling, or feeling emotionally close to their partner during sex. For this group, there was not a significant link between sexual intercourse and enjoyment of life.

For older men, however, satisfying sex life and frequency of sexual intercourse was associated with greater enjoyment of life. The findings suggest that sexual intercourse may be more important for older men than women in terms of promoting well-being.

Study co-lead author Dr. Sarah Jackson of the University College London explained, “Promoting well-being 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. If encouraging and supporting people to continue to enjoy a healthy sex life in old age could help to boost wellbeing, there may be benefits both for the individual and for the sustainability of health services.”

The study is published in the journal Sexual Medicine.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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