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50+: Live Better, Longer

Elderly Stay Sexually Active, Defying Stereotype

Study of Men Shows Some Remain Interested in Sex Into Their 90s
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Testosterone Levels

The study did find that testosterone levels were related to sexual activity.

But “it would be premature to suggest testosterone therapy to improve sexual interest and activity in older men for whom lack of interest is a problem at this stage,” Hyde says. “We need controlled trials to confirm this relationship, and to properly explore both the potential benefits and risks of therapy.”

The findings are consistent with what American Geriatrics society president Sharon Brangman, MD, the chief of the division of geriatrics at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., sees in her practice. Although the new study took place in Australia, Brangman feels it is relevant to men in the U.S. -- and likely to older women as well.

“I have patients in their 70s and 80s who I know are sexually active, but we seem to have a stereotype that old people are not sexually active,” she says. The new study looked at men who live in the community, but sex and sexuality are also part of life in nursing homes, she says.

Men and women in their 70s and beyond are limited by medication side effects, chronic diseases -- especially diabetes and hypertension, and the availability of a partner, she says.

“Women live longer than men, so there is a paucity of available men, and when there are available men, they can be very active,” she says. All of the erectile dysfunction drugs have been helpful for men unless they have heart disease or other problems that prevent them from taking these medications, she says.

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