In a story that seems to have taken the Internet by storm, men and women over the age of 70 are still having sex. Specifically—according to new research from the University of Manchester—54 percent of men and 31 percent of women over the age of 70 are still sexually active. This data comes from a pool of more than 7,000 elderly people who were asked about their sex lives by Manchester's School of Social Science as part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).
These findings may come as no surprise to AASECT members but, as has been revealed repeatedly in past stories on sexuality and chronic illness, those who are older are often desexualized by health care providers. As a result, any sexual issues they may have often go unmentioned and, as a result, untreated.
"We hope our findings improve public health, " says David Lee, Ph.D., "by countering stereotypes and misconceptions about late-life sexuality." Lee adds that it is "important that health professionals act on this and are more open about discussing sexual health with older people—it can't simply be assumed to be an irrelevance."