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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

New report highlights importance of intimacy in later life for older people’s wellbeing

14 February 2017

A new report published by University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) calls for health care professionals to recognise the importance of older people’s sexual health.

‘How long will I love you? Sex and intimacy in later life’, is based on data from the Sexual Relations and Activities Questionnaire within the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, including over 7000 over-50s. The report shows the importance of intimacy in later life, and that positive sexuality and intimacy are linked to higher levels of happiness and well-being irrespective of age.

Report lead author Dr David Lee argues not enough is being done to ensure that older people have access to good sexual health care and support. “Health professionals need to proactively engage with older people to better manage problems that impact on both individuals and couples sexual health and function”, said Dr Lee. ”By normalising conversations around sex and older people, health professionals can help to counter stereotypes and misconceptions around sex in later life, which will ultimately improve public health”

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