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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Love and intimacy in later life: study reveals active sex lives of over-70s

28 January 2015

'Sexual health and wellbeing among older men and women in England' is the first piece of research of its kind to include people over the age of 80.

Older people are continuing to enjoy active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties, according to new research from The University of Manchester and NatCen Social Research.

More than half (54%) of men and almost a third (31%) of women over the age of 70 reported they were still sexually active, with a third of these men and women having frequent sex – meaning at least twice a month – according to data from the latest wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

The paper, lead authored by Dr. David Lee, an Age UK Research Fellow at The University of Manchester’s School of Social Sciences and entitled Sexual health and wellbeing among older men and women in England, is published in the American academic journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior.

It is the first study on sexual health of its kind to include people over the age of 80 and uncovers a detailed picture of the sex lives of older men and women in England, finding that a sizeable minority remain sexually active in their old age.

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