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Sexual Activity in Men Aged 75 to 95 Years FREE

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The full report is titled “Prevalence of Sexual Activity and Associated Factors in Men Aged 75 to 95 Years. A Cohort Study.” It is in the 7 December 2010 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 153, pages 693-702). The authors are Z. Hyde, L. Flicker, G.J. Hankey, O.P. Almeida, K.A. McCaul, S.A.P. Chubb, and B.B. Yeap.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(11):I-58. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-11-201012070-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Sexuality is an important part of well-being. As more persons live to very old ages, information about sexuality in older persons is increasingly important. Such information could help identify health problems that affect sexuality and, perhaps, ways to decrease the influence of these health issues on sexuality. However, much of what we know about sexuality comes from studies of younger persons. Information about sexuality in older persons is scarce.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

The researchers wanted to learn about how often men continue to be sexually active into their 70s through their 90s. They also wanted to identify social and medical factors related to sexual activity.

Who was studied?

The researchers studied 3274 Australian men who lived in the community rather than in nursing homes or other health care facilities. Of the 3274 men studied, only 2783 provided information on sexual activity and are included in the reported results.

How was the study done?

This study surveyed Australian men aged 75 to 95 years about social and medical factors 3 times over 13 years and measured hormone levels and sexual activity at the second and third surveys, respectively. “Sexual activity” was having at least 1 sexual encounter during the previous 12 months.

What did the researchers find?

About one third of men reported at least 1 sexual encounter in the past year, and about half of those who reported being sexually active reported being satisfied with the frequency of sexual encounters. Such factors as increasing age, lower testosterone levels, a partner's lack of interest in sex or physical limitations, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, diabetes, use of depression drugs, and use of some blood pressure drugs (beta-blockers) were associated with absence of sexual activity.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study cohort may be healthier than other older male populations. Although testosterone levels were associated with sexual activity, this study does not tell us whether giving men testosterone would increase sexual activity.

What are the implications of the study?

This study suggests that about one third of men aged 75 to 95 years are sexually active. It also identifies several medical factors related to absence of sexual activity in older men. Further research is needed to see whether modifying these factors is associated with changes in sexual activity in older men.





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