The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Older people don’t want to give up on sex, survey shows

Quite the reverse: over half of those polled felt they didn’t get enough

Caroline White

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Older people don’t want to give up on sex, and are more sexually active than many people think, finds a survey into attitudes to sex, commissioned by older people’s charity, Independent Age.

Over half (52%) of the 2,000 people aged 65 and older in the poll felt they didn’t get enough sex, with one in six people aged 80 and over (18%) expressing this sentiment.

And almost one in three (30%) respondents said they have had sex on a first date since turning 65, or would consider it, while one in 10 people aged 75 and over said they have had multiple sexual partners since they turned 65.

Lack of opportunity would be the only reason to stop having sex for one in six (17%) respondents.

Condoms are the most frequently used form of precaution against sexually transmitted infections, the responses show, although around one in 10 (9%) respondents said that they don’t take any precautions when they start having sex with a new partner.

Friendship, being hugged and having a romantic relationship were picked as some of the most important things to older people.

The survey findings are published alongside guidance from Independent Age on a range of issues about relationships in later life, from how to deal with pressures such as retirement and ill health, through to how to get back into dating to ending a relationship.

Lucy Harmer, the charity’s director of services, commented: “Age is no barrier to having a sex life, and a lot of older people are more sexually active than many people may think.

“Strong relationships are important in later life, and ideas about friendship, romance and intimacy may well change throughout life. Close relationships can offer emotional support, and can make a difference by staving off loneliness and giving you resilience and support to get through difficult patches in life.”

But she cautioned that sex, dating, and relationships can be complex, and that doesn’t stop as people age.

“The ending of old relationships, and starting new ones, can be emotional, but they can also present financial, legal or practical challenges,” she said.

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470