Who says granny panties aren't sexy? Study says that 70 somethings still got it.
Sex just gets better and better, says a study just published in the British Medical Journal which examined the love lives of men and women in their 70s. The research found that people in their 70s, especially women, are satisfied and happy with their sex lives. This study is unique in that it looked at normally functioning sexual behavior of seniors, rather than focusing on sexual dysfunction, as most studies examining cohorts in this age group have.
“I do feel that it’s true that seniors are having good sex, because they are younger today than ever,” Debbie Mandel, M.A, stress management specialist and author says. “I attribute it to more awareness about fitness and eating right.”
For a fulfilling sex life, people need to be in good physical health and they should feel attractive, both of which are goals which are attainable with a balanced, nutritious diet and exercise, Mandel says. In addition, “many seniors are doing strength training, which raises testosterone levels, which also raises the libido,” she notes.
Also, seniors are either working longer, or have launched second careers, which, Mandel says, “keeps them passionate.”
The Swedish study, which studied four representative samples of 70 year-olds over a thirty year period, consisted of 1,500 participants. Study author Nils Beckman and his colleagues at the University of Gothenburg found that over the years, the numbers of 70 year-olds reporting sexual activity and satisfaction increased.
The research examined both married and unmarried men and women, and focused on several aspects of the participants’ sex lives, including sexual activity, marital satisfaction, and sexual dysfunction.
The number of women reporting high levels of sexual satisfaction increased, while the number of men reporting low sexual satisfaction increased. The authors suspect it may due to an increasingly open attitude towards discussing sexual dissatisfaction. Notably, both men and women were more likely to blame men for a decline in sexual activity. This result has appeared in previous studies from the 1950s and 2005-6.
“I suspect that men feel the need to be the ‘performer’ and they compare themselves to what they were like when they were younger,” Mandel says. Once a man feels insecure about his sexual competence, says Mandel, it is difficult to break out of that cycle. “Failure breeds failure, and women need to be patient and supportive.”
There are decreasing reports of erectile dysfunction, the study says. Is it due to the availability of drugs like Cialis and Viagra?
“That is possible, but I tend to attribute it to the healthier lifestyle that seniors are living today. Eating right is important, and exercise gets the blood flowing, which is good for the body and good for sex. Women need to work out to get the blood flowing to their pelvic region, and men need to exercise to get blood moving to their southern hemisphere,” Mandel says.
The old adage, “use it or lose it” is not more appropriate than when it comes to sex in the senior years. “If women don’t have sex, their muscles actually atrophy,” Mandel explains. “For men, erectile dysfunction is more likely to be prevented if they stay sexually active. Once they develop erectile dysfunction, it then has to be treated. It is harder to start again once you stop.”
One way to keep sex especially pleasurable, advises Mandel, is for older couples to use sexual lubricants, which she says, “Even the younger women are using.” As hormonal changes occur, women may find that they need to use them more as they age.
Overall, in terms of seniors’ general health, this is great news, Mandel says. “Sex is an indicator of your overall health, emotional and physical. Seniors are happier and more active than they have been in the past. Sex is a measure of health and vitality.”
It is so important, the health, fitness and lifestyle expert says, “Any doctor worth his or her salt asks patients how their sex lives are going.”
For more on Debbie Mandel, M.A., go to www.turnonyourinnerlight.com. Mandel is author of the forthcoming book Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. The book is available for pre-order at www.amazon.com.
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