A new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine indicates that sexual activity is associated with improved wellbeing amongst older adults, measured through higher enjoyment of life scores.
Led by Dr Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University and Dr Sarah Jackson from UCL, the study involved analysing survey data from 6,879 older adults, with an average age of 65, living in England.
It found that older men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous 12 months had a higher life enjoyment score than those who were not sexually active.
For older women, a greater frequency of kissing, petting, and fondling was associated with a higher enjoyment of life, as was feeling emotionally close to their partner during sex. However, there was not a significant association with sexual intercourse and enjoyment of life amongst older women.
Amongst older men, however, satisfaction with their sex life and frequency of sexual intercourse was associated with greater enjoyment of life. The results from the study indicate that sexual intercourse may be more important for older men than women in terms of promoting wellbeing, with women’s enjoyment more closely linked to other sexual activities.
Dr Smith, Reader in Exercise Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “Previous research has suggested that frequent sexual intercourse is associated with a range of benefits for psychological and physiological wellbeing, such as improved quality of life and mental health, and lower risk of certain cancers and fatal coronary events.