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Nearly 40 Percent Of Seniors Are Sexually Active, But Aren't Talking To Doctors

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There are many things that seniors value as part of a quality life, and a new survey finds that being sexually active is one of those important things.

Seniors Are Interested In Sex

Nearly two-thirds of seniors are interested in sex, with 73 percent of seniors saying that they are satisfied with their current sex life. This confirms that adults of all ages can have a sexually active lifestyle.

The survey was conducted by Michigan University's National Poll on Healthy Aging, and it was published on May 3. AARP and Michigan Medicine, the school's academic medical center, sponsored the survey.

Forty percent of adults ages 65 to 80 admitted to being sexually active. A total of 1,002 people were sampled in the survey.

"This survey just confirms that the need for and interest in sexual intimacy doesn't stop at a certain age," said Alison Bryant, Ph.D., senior vice president of research for AARP.

Differences Between Age, Health, And Gender

Although seniors were overall interested in sex, there were some noticeable differences when it came to gender. Half of men were interested in sex, and were sexually active. Meanwhile, only 31 percent of women were sexually active, and only 12 percent were interested in having sex. However, women were more likely than men to be satisfied with their current sexual situation.

There are also noticeable differences among seniors in different age groups. Adults over the age of 70 were less likely than those between the ages of 65 and 70 to be sexually active.

Health also played a big role as well. Healthier seniors were twice as likely as those seniors in poor health to be sexually active.

Not Seeking Medical Help

The glaring issue with the poll is that sexually active seniors are not talking to their doctors about their sex life. Sixty-two percent of seniors surveyed said that they would speak to a medical provider if they had a problem with their sexual health. However, only 17 percent of them have actually done this.

"It's important for older adults and the clinicians who care for them to talk about these issues," said Erica Solway, Ph.D., co-associate director of the poll.

The National Institutes of Health says that seniors who are sexually active might be at risk for diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HIV.

Part of the reason that seniors don't speak to their medical providers about their sex life is the stigma that is often associated with it. An awareness campaign geared towards seniors might convince them to speak to a doctor.

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