Sex is better in your 80s - really?

Manchester University researcher David Lee's study found that older people are enjoying active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties.
54 percent of men and nearly 31 percent of women over the age of 70 reported they were still sexually active (Getty)

Older people are finding creative ways to keep their sexuality alive, and continue to enjoy plenty of action between the sheets, new research has found.

Manchester University researcher David Lee's study found that older people are enjoying active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties.

A study he authored "kept a very broad definition of sex", and found that older people are happy to adjust their sexual behaviour as they age.

 "We saw quite a lot of adaptation in the older people, saying they no longer had penetrative sexual intercourse and were more content with kissing and cuddling and general intimacy."

More than half (54 percent) of men and nearly a third (31 percent) of women over the age of 70 reported they were still sexually active.

A third of these men and women were having frequent sex - at least twice a month - according to Dr Lee's paper Sexual health and wellbeing among older men and women in England

The study also found that many septuagenarians and octogenarians were still affectionate towards their partners, with 31 percent of men and 20 percent of women reporting frequent kissing or petting.

Dr Lee said he hopes his findings will counter stereotypes and misconceptions about late-life sexuality. 

He told The Guardian that men and women over 80 reported more sexual compatibility and emotional closeness than those in their 50s, 60s and 70s.  

The study found that overall health and "conflicting partnership factors" were more closely linked to a decrease in sexual activity and functioning, than they were to simply increasing age.

Problems that were most frequently reported by older women were becoming sexual aroused (32 percent) and achieving orgasm (27 percent), while for men it was erectile difficulties (39 percent).

Sexually active women were less dissatisfied with their overall sex lives than men, and also reported decreasing levels of dissatisfaction with increasing age.

Dr Lee's paper is the first research of its kind to include people over the age of 80, and is published in journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

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