Golden oldies have more sex if they make past their 50th anniversary

By Leon Watson ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-03-21 07:43:19

They may be past their sexual prime, but you'd be wrong to assume golden oldies get bored with each other in the sack.

Scientists say committed couples who make it to their Golden Wedding anniversary have more sex more than those who have remarried.

Couples who have stayed together for over 50 years make love more than those who have had multiple partners in their lives, research has found.

While couples have sex more in the early years of marriage it tapers off over time.

But for those who survive - a slight bounce occurs for those whose relationships endure and it may be down to being more content with their loved ones.

The researchers said the study provided "intriguing results" for one of the fastest growing age groups - and one whose sexual behaviour rarely has been studied.

Professor Samuel Stroope, of Louisiana State University, said while sex becomes less of a novelty over time and frequency tends to diminish "it may be the permanency of the relationship contributes to sexual relations picking up a bit at the end."

"As people age, they tend to be more even-keeled, which may help cut down on marital conflict and facilitate regular sexual activity into advanced age."

His researchers analysed the link between marital characteristics and sexual outcomes among 1,656 married adults aged 57 to 85 using data from a US health survey.

They noted people who survive until their 50th anniversary - among whom the slight rebound occurred - are relatively few in number.

Prof Stroope added: "Additionally the study used a snapshot in time - and therefore cannot prove that length and order of marriage caused sexual frequency."

"Growing old as a couple - with the experience and knowledge that come with that - may play a part. You are able to learn about your partner and build on that over time.

"You may have a higher level of trust when you feel that your spouse isn't going to go anywhere.

"The expectation the relationship will continue may give you more reason to invest in the relationship - including in sexual aspects of the relationship."

As to why "remarrieds" have less frequent sex than those in first marriages, "it may be that those who have been married in the past may not have as strong of a sense of permanence or lasting investment," Prof Stroope said.

Prof Jeremy Uecker, of Baylor University in Texas, added: "We know a great deal about sexual behaviour at younger stages of the life course. This study adds to a small but growing body of research on the sexual behavior of older adults."

The researchers said the findings published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior could surprise some in a society in which youth is the ideal and older adults are often subjected to ageism.

Despite stereotypes the study joins other research in revealing regular sexual activity remains a part of many older adults' lives - even with declining health and the death of a spouse on the horizon.

(China Daily 03/21/2015 page23)

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