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Older Adults Still Enjoy Sex and Physical Tenderness

However, rates for unpartnered individuals were much lower, especially for women. Just over 1% of the unpartnered women had had sexual activity, and 5% had experienced physical tenderness, compared to unpartnered men, whose rates were 14% for sexual activity and 17% for tenderness.

The study authors noted that lack of a partner was the “greatest barrier” for older adults and that women were more likely to find themselves in this position.

“On average, women live longer than men and men tend to pair with younger women; thus, women experience their husbands’ aging before their own, followed by a decade of widowhood without a partner,” they wrote.

They encouraged healthcare providers to consider the sexual health concerns of older patients.

If you have questions about sex as you age, don’t hesitate to ask your provider. These articles might also help:

Sex for Women after 50

Sex for Men after 50

Sex, Condoms and Women over 50

A Man’s Penis Changes with Age


Freak-Poli, Rosanne, PhD, et al.

“Sexual Activity and Physical Tenderness in Older Adults: Cross-Sectional Prevalence and Associated Characteristics”

(Full-text. July 2017)

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