Study Shows Sexual Satisfaction at 70 Improving

Study shows Swedish septuagenarians are sexually satisfied.

ByABC News
March 3, 2009, 5:39 PM

July 10, 2008— -- As media attention focuses on issues like teenage pregnancy and rates of sexual activity among the young, a new Swedish study reinforces what many professionals in the area have long suspected -- sexual activity and satisfaction are on the rise among the elderly.

The study, from Gothenburg University in Sweden, showed that self-reported levels of sexual satisfaction among 70-year-olds in Gothenburg has been on the rise, from 58 percent of 70-year-old men reporting satisfaction in 1976-77 to 71 percent reporting sexual satisfaction in 2000-01. Among women, the increase was from 41 percent to 62 percent during the same period.

"I think it's very important for older people to know that it's quite normal to have sexual feelings, and it's important for health professionals to know that they are sexually active or would like to be, and they should take that into consideration," said Nils Beckman, a doctoral student at Gothenburg and the lead author of the study.

The findings are published in the most recent issue of the British Medical Journal.

Although the study was done exclusively in Sweden, researchers here seem to believe the findings are applicable to the United States as well, even if the rate is not quite as high.

"There is no question that people in their 70s today are like people in their 60s from the last decade," said Judith Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist, sex therapist and faculty member at Columbia University Teachers College.

"People are staying younger older, as they work out, look better, feel better and therefore are physically as well as psychologically more interested -- as well as more capable -- of being sexual."

The findings may support a trend; a study published last August in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 53 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 74 had recently engaged in sexual activity.

Researchers have proposed a number of reasons for the rise.

"One reason might be that today 70-year-olds are healthier than they were 30 years ago, but other studies have shown that people who have a good sex life in earlier years usually have a good sex life in old age," said Beckman.