There are many stereotypes, myths and incorrect information about sex for boomers and beyond. Contrary to popular opinion, older couples are doing the deed a lot — and STDs are more of an issue than you might think.
Claim: Younger couples have better sex lives than older couples.
Reality: A study by the National Council on Aging finds that 74 percent of men and 70 percent of women have better sex lives now that they're over 60 than when they were in their 40s. But before boomers get too excited about these stats, they have to realize that the study is only looking at a select group of people who are still having sex, said Debby Herbenick, research scientist at Indiana University and co-author of "Great in Bed." But there is good news to the study. "As we age, we are more prone to being satisfied and content with a lot of things," Herbenick said. "Our lives aren't black and white and filled with drama anymore."
Claim: Most people have less sex as they age.
Reality: The average couple in the United States reported that they had sex 66 times annually, according to a study by the National Opinion Research Center. But that number falls to 52 times for couples in their 50s. It's not as bleak as it may appear, however. "I would suspect that in the younger years, the focus in a relationship is on sex," said Howard Markman, professor of psychology at University of Denver and co-author of "Fighting for Your Marriage." "As couples get older, the focus is more on sensuality." So while it's true that older couples may not be having sex as often as younger couples, they may have more fulfilling, romantic relationships than their younger counterparts, Markman said.
Claim: You need to have sex to be sexually satisfied.
Reality: A 2010 study examining the sex lives of people age 14 to 94 found that sex frequency peaks around 25 to 34 years old, said Herbenick, author of the study. But one of the biggest predictors of sexual satisfaction for older men wasn't how often they were having sex — but how often they were touching and cuddling.
Claim: Older women have more lubrication issues than younger women.
Reality: One-third of younger women need to use lubricant during sex because of dryness, but not many of them report it, Herbenick said. Only half of women in their 50s use lubricant, and 66 percent of women in their 60s use lubricant. "It's not a big deal, because the issues tend to be mild," she said.
Claim: Younger couples are irresponsible when it comes to sex.
Reality: The over-55 set is among the fastest growing populations when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases. Widows and divorcees are re-entering the dating game with new partners, and they aren't quick to use condoms because they are beyond their child-bearing years. They also aren't as suspicious of their significant others having multiple partners, Markman said. "And sex among the elderly is far more prevalent than suspected," he said. Regardless of your age, condoms and STD testing are necessary.
Sex lives: Fact or fiction
You're getting older, but that doesn't mean less satisfaction
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- Sex effects a man's heart on many levels
- Medical Research
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Medical Procedures and Tests
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