While we don’t see much depiction of senior sex on TV or in movies, the fact is many seniors are happily and healthfully enjoying intimate relations even into their 80s.
A 2011 study of 27,000 women found that 45 percent in their 60s and 28 percent in their 70s were sexually active, according to Senior Planet. Unfortunately, that leaves a good percentage celibate, something gerontologists say is not good for the body, mind, and soul.
According to AARP, there are six proven health benefits of “making whoopy” in our twilight years:
- You sleep better. Sex is related to more and better quality of sleep, say experts, especially when you may be struggling with insomnia — something that affects many seniors. Sexual intercourse releases oxytocin, the hormone that helps us relax, while decreasing the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Its an anti-aging tool. According to psychologist David Weeks of Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital, couples who have sex three times a week look a decade younger. It may be because involved couples try to take better care of themselves, he reasons. “Lovemaking also releases endorphins or ‘feel good’ hormones that act as a natural painkiller and reduces anxiety,” he says. “It also releases more of the human growth hormone which makes the skin look more elastic.”
- You strengthen your relationship. Even married couples who have spent decades together report higher levels of marital satisfaction if they are sexually active, according to a 2014 study conducted at the University of Chicago. The study also revealed that cuddling, hugging, and kissing counted when assessing marital bliss.
- You experience fewer headaches. A 2013 study reported that sex may relieve migraines. Headache specialists at the University of Munster in Germany surveyed migraine sufferers who had sex during their headaches and a whopping 60 percent reported that it reduced or stopped the pain altogether.
- Happiness increases. The more sex people have, the happier they report feeling overall, according to a 2013 Social Indicators Research report. Couples having sex two to three times a week were 33 percent happier than those who had no sex in the previous year, according to a study conducted at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
- You boost cardiovascular fitness. You can gain strength and flexibility through the act of lovemaking. As with any form of exercise, it gets the blood flowing and the heart pumping, which is good for circulation. It may even improve brain function, say experts.
“My message is that lovemaking is good,” says Weeks.
“The stereotype of an elderly person is that when they retire and get their Social Security benefits, they stop having sex, but that’s not true. Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted.”
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