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Health & Sex

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The Golden Age of Sex

Many Baby Boomers, Seniors Say Their Spark Is Still Going Strong
WebMD Health News

May 27, 2005 -- Don't believe the hype about sex fading with age. Relationships and sex remain a vital part of life for many people in midlife and beyond, an AARP survey shows.

AARP has just released a 2004 update to its 1999 sex report. The results will appear in the July/August issue of AARP The Magazine, says an AARP news release.

Among the findings:

  • More than half (51%) of participants say they're "extremely" or "somewhat" satisfied with their sex life (52% of men, 49% of women, 63% with a regular sex partner).
  • 31% expressed neutral feelings about their sexual satisfaction.
  • 60% agree or strongly agree that sexual activity is a critical part of a good relationship.
  • About half (49%) agree or strongly agree that sex is important to their overall quality of life.
  • 84% disagree or strongly disagree that sex is only for younger people.
  • Nearly one in four (24%) said they had consulted a doctor or mental health professional about a sex problem. More men than women reported this.

Most Are Sexually Active

Half of the respondents say they have sexual thoughts, fantasies, or erotic dreams at least once a week, with nearly one-fourth saying they have these thoughts at least once a day.

Participants' weekly (or more frequent) sexual activities in the past six months were listed:

  • Kissing or hugging: 69%
  • Sexual touching or caressing: 53%
  • Intercourse: 36%
  • Self-stimulation: 20%
  • Oral sex: 14%

The vast majority (86%) said they had engaged in any of those activities in the last six months. Younger participants were more likely to report sexual satisfaction.

Two out of three participants were married or living with a partner or had a regular sexual partner. Most (85%) had been with their partner for at least 10 years. Four percent of the men and 1% of the women had same-sex partners.

Former Surgeon General: Sex Is Not Just for the Young

"Many believe that sexuality is the exclusive province of the young," says former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, in a news release.

"But this AARP study makes clear that, even as we age, sexual health continues to be important to our general health," says Satcher, who is now the interim president of Morehouse School of Medicine.

The good news, he says, is that more middle-aged or older men and women are turning to health professionals to improve their sexual health. "This means, however, that health professionals must be increasingly better prepared to deal with issues related to sexual health," says Satcher.

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