3 Myths About Sex And Aging To Stop Believing

by Kristine Fellizar

Here’s a new bit of information you probably think you didn’t need to know: your grandma is having sex—and regularly! Despite popular belief that older people don’t do it anymore, simply because they can’t or that they just don’t want to, a new study shows that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, nearly six in 10 women over the age of 60 who are in committed relationships are sexually active.

The new study, which was published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine analyzed more than 2100 women from the U.S. ranging from 28 to 84-years-old. Researchers found that good sex doesn’t stop in your 30s. Women in their 60s and 70s actually reported to having similar levels of sexual satisfaction as women in their 30s and 40s.

“People assume as women get older, they automatically become sexually inactive and sex is not as important to them, which isn’t necessarily the case,” Dr. Holly Thomas, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says to Health Day.

In order to come to their conclusions, Thomas and her colleagues expanded on research that was completed several years ago. It was found that 62 percent of those surveyed reported to being sexually active in the past six months. Furthermore, out of those who were 60-plus and were in a committed relationships, 59 percent of them admitted to being sexually active. People who were in relationships were eight times more likely to be sexually active than those who didn’t, however, 13 percent of women who were sexually active admitted to not having a steady romantic partner.

“It seems for a lot of women in this age group, whether they have a romantic partner is a big contributor to whether they’re sexually active. Also, we assume that sex goes downhill as we get older, but these findings suggest women are maintaining sexual satisfaction as they get older,” Thomas says. “We shouldn’t look at a woman who’s not married and 60 and assume she’s not sexually active.”

Researchers and experts alike believe that the results of this study will hopefully push doctors to be more proactive in asking their older patients about their sexual activity.

Despite what we tend to believe, sex doesn’t stop after a certain age. In fact, a study published earlier this year found that many women believe that sex gets better with age. Here are three myths and facts about sex and aging to show you that senior sex won’t be so bad after all. Because, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Myth #1: Certain Tools Won't Work Anymore, So Sex Won't Either.

Fact: Sure, it happens. After all, both men and women can experience having decreased sex drives, menopause is known to lead to vaginal dryness, and erectile dysfunction does occur. However, maybe not as much as you think. In fact, a May 2010 AARP survey found that nearly 75 percent of men over 70-years-old reported to having few, if any erectile mishaps. Besides, there’s so many ways around certain issues. There’s always lube and estrogen-based creams available to help out with vaginal problems. There are also a number of different prescription meds available for men with sexual dysfunction issues, not to mention one for females, which is awaiting approval. If you talk to your doctor about it, they’ll be sure to find a solution.

Myth #2: Older People Can't Avoid The Aches And Pains Of Intercourse.

Fact: Dr. Edmund Duthie, a professor of medicine and chief of geriatrics and gerontology at the Medical College of Wisconsin told Everyday Health that it’s true. Women go through biological changes, such as hormone changes, that will make sex uncomfortable and painful. However, like the previous point, Duthie suggests using lube as a solution. He also suggests finding different positions or using additional pillows for support if certain positions lead to aching hip joints. If all else fails, Duthie suggests popping back a couple of OTC pain meds before or after sex.

Myth #3: There’s Nothing Seniors Can Do To Rev Up Their Sex Drive

Fact: Experts from both the AARP and Everyday Health suggest finding the root of the problem. Why aren’t you having sex? Lack of interest? Something physical? What is it? If it’s something physical, again, there are things like prescription meds that can help give you a boost. But as the AARP suggests, staying fit with exercise can be a good solution to keeping your heart active, your muscles strong, your mind refreshed, and thus, your body interested in sex.

If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, watch the sex myths you believed as a child below (and subscribe to Bustle's YouTube page for more videos):

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Images: Gerard Moonen/Unsplash; Giphy(4)