There isn’t a lot of consensus about the sex lives of older adults, in part because there are some really stale notions about senior citizens being too old to have fun.
But researchers are finally brushing the cobwebs off these stereotypes and taking another look at the data. And what they’re finding is that not only do older adults have a lot of sex, but they’re having a lot of fun doing it, too.
Recently, the International Society for Sexual Medicine published a study that took this research even further, showing that older adults who have sex also tend to be happier. They took a pool of over 3,000 men and nearly 4,000 women, most of whom were in their mid-60s, and found that those who had had sex in the past year also reported enjoying their lives more.
The study, which gave each participant a life enjoyment score from 0 to 15, also noted that there were some discrepancies across gender in terms of how sex and happiness were related.
For men, having sex twice or more in a month, along with frequent “kissing, petting or fondling,” lead to an average score of 9.75 (men who weren’t sexually active averaged 9.44). For women, “kissing, petting or fondling” was all that was needed to result in a difference: 9.86 in comparison to 9.67.
The root of these gender differences isn’t fully understood, but what’s clear is the strong correlation between sexual intimacy and a sense of well-being. While a few points on the life enjoyment scale might seem like a fractional difference, even the smallest change in your sense of well-being can have lasting impacts on your health and reduce our risk of mortality.
There’s still much more to be uncovered about the sex lives of older adults—what kind of sex they have, what sort of porn or erotica they prefer—but if this recent study is any indication, such research topics aren’t too far behind. Until then, rest easy knowing that having sex really is good for you—both in the bedroom and out.