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Better health means better sex life

British Medical Journal,
March 2010

Better health means better sex life

Better health translates into better sex lives, with healthy people more likely to engage in sex and to express an interest in sex. This association holds  firm into middle-age and later life as well, according to a recent U.S. study.

Human sexuality is increasingly recognised as an important aspect of health and quality of life throughout an individual's life with sexual activity being associated with health benefits and longevity. Physical health is significantly correlated with sexual activity and many aspects of sexual function, independent of age. To examine the relation between health and several dimensions of sexuality and to estimate years of sexually active life across sex and health groups in middle aged and older adults, researchers looked at two different samples of people: one involving over 3,032 adults aged 25 to 74 years, and another with more than 3,005 adults aged 57 to 85. An equal number of men and women were in each group.

It was found that men were more likely to report positive experiences with sex than women. This gender gap was most noticeable among 75-to-85-year olds, with 38 percent of men, compared to 16 percent of women, reporting being sexually active. Almost 71 percent of men in this age group reported a good sex life, versus only half of the women.

Moreover, sexual activity, quality of sexual life, and interest in sex were positively associated with health in middle age and later life. Sexually active life expectancy was longer for men, but men lost more years of sexually active life as a result of poor health than women. The study also found that people with partners were more likely to be having sex and more men than women reported having partners, especially in later life.

The above findings indicate that as one ages, better health means better sexual life though further research is needed to evaluate the potential impact of sexually active life expectancy projection on individual health behaviour.

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