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Hope Springs: The Sexuality of Our Oldest Generation

No one wants to know if their grandparents are still having sex, although for the sake of their relationship, it’d be wonderful if they are. Now that you’ve put down what you’re eating, it’s time to dive into the fascinating, dirty world of sexuality and health within the golden years.

The Science of Sex in Sexagenarians

Researchers have conducted a large study looking into the role of health and sex in the lives of older adults. The data, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August of 2007, looked at the overall role of intercourse within relationships and partnerships in the AARP crowd.

What did they find?

It turns out that thanks to a growing market of sexual aids and an open attitude, they’re doing the deed on the regular; although it does decrease with age.

With baby boomers getting into their 60s, 70s, and 80s, the topic has become quite popular. Movies like Hope Springs and It’s Complicated are focusing on the romantic endeavors of the aged, with a good deal of success. And art seems to be imitating life, as it’s been found that 73 percent of those aged 57-64 were still sexually active.

It doesn’t stop there. Fifty-three percent of those aged 65-74 are knocking boots as well; and over a quarter of the population from 75 to 85 is doing the no-pants dance.

The Breakdown

As for specifics, it’s not like all of the elderly are going to swinger parties and buying protection by the caseload at Costco. Women of all ages are less likely to be sexually active than men;  although the reasons for that disparity ranged from the lack of desire to the lack of a partner, as far more women were widowed than the men.

Good health was also a factor, as those that were rated in “excellent” or “very good” health for their age were nearly twice as likely to be sexually active as those in poor health.

And age was an issue as well; not just in the obvious decline of sexual activity, but also in the openness with which the topic is discussed. It turns out that the World War II generation that is into their 80s keeps tight-lipped about their turns beneath the sheets.

Sex Apparently Does Get ‘Old’

So if Hope Springs is becoming the new normal, maybe Little Red Riding Hood would now be forced to take a detour on the way to grandma’s house. And maybe it’s time for all of us to give our elders a little private time the next time we’re home for the holidays.

Because those smiles they sport during that retiree’s luncheon might not be work-related . . . unless you consider that work.

Cited Sources

Lindau, Stacy. "The New England Journal of Medicine." A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States NEJM. N.p., 23 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa067423>.


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