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Aging and Sex

Aging and Sex

If you want evidence that, in humans, sex is about a lot more than making babies, you don’t have to look any farther than the data on sex after menopause—the point at which a woman is naturally infertile.

One of the most careful studies of sexual behavior done in recent years is the American Sexual Behavior Study of 2006. Here’s what the study authors found about how often couples at different stages of life had sex:

Married Couples

Age        Frequency of Sex (average number of times yearly)

18-29               109.1

30-39               87.0

40-49               70.2

50-59               52.5

60-69               32.2

70+                  17.2

 

Unmarried Couples

18-29               73.4

30-39               67.8

40-49               48.2

50-59               29.3

60-69               16.2

70+                  3.3

You can see that even married young couples are having sex, on average, about once every three days or so. The frequency goes down from there, though even unmarried people between the ages of 60 and 69 have sex more than once a month.

As the body ages, sexual response cycles change too.  Both men and women take longer to become aroused, for example, and physical responses such as the height of erections or the amount of vaginal lubrication are generally less robust.

But, with some simple adjustments, these changes may actually enhance lovemaking.

First, don’t be shy about using lubrication — post-menopausal women naturally produce less lubrication, so adding some will make the experience much more pleasurable for both partners. And if an older man is having more difficulties obtaining or keeping an erection, there’s nothing wrong with using one of the various erection-enhancing drugs on the market.

As usual, the key to having a satisfactory love life in your older years is good communication with your partner, a willingness to experiment and try new things, and an ability to adapt playfully to the bodily changes that accompany aging.

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