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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Who says the elderly don't get it on?

It is widely accepted that sexual desire declines with an overall increase in age. This trend may be compounded by certain medical conditions (e.g. sleep apnea) and the use of medications to treat conditions associated with aging. A recent study by John Delamater (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Morgan Sill (University of Michigan) found psychological and social factors also have influence.

psychological factors were just as important. Negative attitudes toward sex were correlated with low sexual desire, and people who rated sex as important to their relationships had higher sexual desire. Besides age, attitude was the strongest predictor of desire.

Other social factors that predicted high sexual desire were a greater level of education and the presence of a sexual partner. Conversely, people who were less educated and did not have an available partner reported lower
levels of desire.

These findings contradict commonly held beliefs that older people are not sexual and that sex is only for young people. DeLamater and Sill conclude that "negative attitudes about sexual activity among older persons need to be challenged so that future cohorts are not influenced by such attitudes."

I'm not sure that their results contradict the commonly held belief because they all seem intuitive to me. Well, maybe not the level of education. But, perhaps the study suggests there is a greater variation in sexuality of older individuals than might be widely thought.

They also suggested that assisted living communities should be restructured to allow elderly residents to engage in intimate relationships.

Well, this is a pleasant thought...I guess.