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Quiz: Is your sex life ageing well?

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How many people over 50 say sex gets better with age?

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How many people over 50 say sex gets better with age?

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According to a survey by the over-50s group, Saga, sex and romance is alive and kicking among the older generation. 42% say they have sex at least once a week and a further 25% say they have sex once every two weeks. When asked to compare their current love life to when they were in their 20s and 30s, 85% admitted sex was less frequent but 82% said it was less pressurised. A healthy 61% claimed it was more fulfilling than in their younger days.

 

When asked about other aspects of their lives, it was clear that older people seem more happy, confident and contented with their lot. 79% of over-50s expressed satisfaction with their life overall compared to just 57% of under 50s.

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Ageing can reduce your sex drive

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Ageing can reduce your sex drive

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Getting older can reduce your sex drive, but it’s important to understand this is normal. Men may experience reduced arousal or erectile dysfunction. Women may report a decline as a result of a drop in oestrogen levels, or other concerns such as conflicts with their partner. On the bright side, even though sex drive may decrease with age, according to the Sexual Advice Association postmenopausal women may be more quickly aroused. This may be linked to the end of menstruation and reduced concern over getting pregnant.

How many over-50 males say they have sex several times a month?

How many over-50 males say they have sex several times a month?

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While the amount of sex may decline with age, many older people remain sexually active. In fact, statistics gathered by the Kinsey Institute found a quarter of men over 50 claim to have sex a few times a month – with 10% having sex two or three times a week. Women aren't far behind – some 20% report having sex a few times a month with 7% having sex two or three times a week.

How many people in the UK with HIV are 50 or older?

How many people in the UK with HIV are 50 or older?

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Unfortunately, ageing does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. The National AIDS Trust (NAT) says the number of over 50s diagnosed with HIV infection increased five-fold between 2002 and 2011. Among those, the number of British born women living with HIV has risen by 42% - making women over 50 the fastest growing group. In 2014, of those men and women with HIV, 25% were over 50. Nearly two thirds of older adults are diagnosed late. It’s thought older people are less likely to discuss their sex lives and are less informed about the risks. The normal wear and tear of ageing may also mask the signs and symptoms of an STI. In older adults the most common STIs are gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia.

Arousal usually takes longer as you age.

Arousal usually takes longer as you age.

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For the most part, your sexual response slows down as you age. There are some exceptions, such as postmenopausal women. If arousal does take longer, consider spending more time on your warm up skills! Couples can work together on enhancing foreplay. Using lubricating creams or gels may help for women. For men, issues with erectile dysfunction can be treated. Seek medical advice if you have concerns over arousal.

Ageing men who have sex a lot are more at risk of a heart attack

Ageing men who have sex a lot are more at risk of a heart attack

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This is a common myth but the opposite is actually true. While there is a slight risk that sex can trigger a heart attack in sedentary males a UK study found that having sex often may protect against a heart attack. If you are older with a history of heart attack, talk to your GP about safe sexual activity.

Erectile dysfunction is common.

Erectile dysfunction is common.

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is very common, affecting as many as half of all men aged between 40 and 70 to some degree. Medical conditions linked with ED include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and low testosterone. Seek medical advice if you have concerns about ED as there are a number of effective treatments.

Which medications can trigger erectile dysfunction?

Which medications can trigger erectile dysfunction?

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Don’t simply attribute erectile dysfunction to ageing. Some common medications can cause ED. They include antidepressant, antihistamine, antipsychotic, and blood pressure drugs. Painkillers, chemotherapy drugs, alcohol and drugs like cannabis and cocaine, can also cause erectile dysfunction. Smoking also affects the blood supply to erectile tissue. Talk to your GP if you are taking any of these medications and have any concerns about erectile dysfunction. 
 

Levels of which hormone decline in women after menopause?

Levels of which hormone decline in women after menopause?

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Declining levels of oestrogen are often blamed for symptoms of menopause but other hormones are in decline too. Lower levels of progesterone may contribute to a loss of sex drive. Not all women have sexual problems but some may experience vaginal dryness, less lubrication, less sexual sensation,  weaker orgasms or, in some cases, painful intercourse. Levels of testosterone are also waning as a woman ages. Although this has not been directly linked to menopause some research suggests it may reduce sexual desire in women. In any case, seek medical advice about menopause if you are troubled by any of these symptoms.

Older men are often more sexually active than older women.

Older men are often more sexually active than older women.

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There are a number of possible reasons for this. Research suggests men generally think more about sex than women – at any age. Men also seek sex more avidly than women and want sex more often, according to several surveys. Men have every incentive to pass on their genetic material, whereas women are hard-wired to choose partners with care - focused on a healthy environment for their offspring. Also, as we age, there are simply more women than men and men experience less cultural pressure against marrying a younger partner. Finally, successful treatment for female sexual dysfunction remains elusive – compared to many treatments available for men.

What is the chief sexual concern of women after menopause?

What is the chief sexual concern of women after menopause?

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Research shows that up to 50% of postmenopausal women experience a lower sex drive. Lower oestrogen isn't the only culprit at work here. Other factors include: bladder control issues, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, stress, certain medications or other health concerns. Currently there are no medications proven to treat reduced sex drive, but hormonal therapy may help. Talk to your GP who may refer you to a specialist in sexual dysfunction.

What are the health benefits of frequent sex?

What are the health benefits of frequent sex?

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For older people sexual intercourse is another form of healthy exercise. It burns fat, raises metabolic rate, cuts stress, helps heart health and strengthens muscles, bones and your immune system. Overall, studies suggest an active sex life can help you live a longer, healthier life.

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