21 November 2011
Rx sex for a happy old age
by George Atkinson
The more frequently older married men engage in sexual activity, the more likely they are to be happy with both their lives and marriages, according to new research presented at The Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting.
The finding is based on an analysis of data from General Social Surveys, a public opinion poll conducted on a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized English and Spanish-speaking person 18 years of age or older living in the U.S.
Based on the responses of hundreds of married individuals aged 65 or older, researcher Adrienne Jackson discovered that frequency of sexual activity was a significant predictor of both general and marital happiness. The association even remained after accounting for factors such as age, gender, health status, and satisfaction with financial situation.
Jackson said that whereas only 40 percent of individuals who reported no sexual activity in the last 12 months said they were very happy with life in general, almost 60 percent who engaged in sexual activity more than once a month said they were very happy.
Likewise, while about 59 percent of individuals who reported no sexual activity in the last 12 months said they were very happy with their marriage, almost 80 percent who had sex more than once a month said they were very happy.
"This study will help open the lines of communication and spark interest in developing 'outside the box' approaches to dealing with resolvable issues that limit or prevent older adults from participating in sexual activity," suggested Jackson. "Highlighting the relationship between sex and happiness will help us in developing and organizing specific sexual health interventions for this growing segment of our population."
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Source: The Gerontological Society of America