News alert: Sex is not just for couples younger than 50. Sex at midlife happens and continues to occur well beyond the 50th birthday. But what is the truth behind sexual escapades in the bedroom or elsewhere? How much do you know about later-in-life sexual health? Is this activity like a fine wine that only gets better with age? Let’s find out the answers to these questions and more by taking the quiz:
What men and women should know about sex beyond 50
1. Which of these physiological changes could a man experience as they grow older?
a) Delayed erection
b) Less semen
c) Shorter orgasm
d) All of the above
While most men will experience at least one of these changes, none should prevent them from having an enjoyable and fulfilled sex life. Our bodies undergo changes with age that may influence sex but do not have to put an end to it.
2. Couples in long-term relationships with a satisfying sex life have which of the following in common?
a) They have sex at least two times a week
b) They have an agreement that the woman does all household chores
c) They share their sexual fantasies
d) They realize that a happy sex life requires hard work and effort
Long-term couples who have a happy sex life have discovered good sex doesn’t just happen. Both partners must nurture and find ways to be intimate both in and out of the bedroom.
3. When compared to men under age 30, men between ages 50 and 59 are how many more times likely to have erectile dysfunction?
a) Two times more likely
b) Three times more likely
c) Four times more likely
d) Five times more likely
Research has shown that erectile dysfunction increases with age, with almost 70 percent of men at age 70 having it at least occasionally. Some medications have been found to be very effective.
4. What percent of adults, both men and women, ages 60 to 85, have talked to their doctor about sexual health?
a) 5 percent
b) 17 percent
c) 33 percent
d) 41 percent
Less than 1 in 5 adults asked in a poll from the University of Michigan’s academic medical center stated they had talked to their doctor about sexual health in the last two years.
5. What percent of men and women ages 65 to 80 are still sexually active?
a) 18 percent
b) 25 percent
c) 40 percent
d) 65 percent
A 2017 National poll on healthy aging found that roughly 40 percent of men and women between ages 65 and 80 were still sexually active. Couples generally consider sexual activity an essential measure of their quality of life, but problems with aging affecting sex include erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, incontinence, and uterine prolapse in women. Each of these conditions can be diagnosed and treated when brought to the attention of their doctors.
6. In women, having less sex has been linked to:
a) Higher quality sleep
b) Increased vaginal dryness
d) Earlier onset of menopause
According to a study published in 2020 in the British Journal Royal Society Open Science, women who engage in sexual activity less than once a month may experience an earlier onset of menopause.
There are many benefits to having sex for women. Women who go through menopause past 50 tend to have stronger bones and healthier cholesterol levels. Women’s bodies may react to decreased sexual activity as a ‘use it or lose it’ reaction. If a woman is not having sex or very infrequently, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then her body may ‘choose’; not to invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless.
7. What is the number of new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. for people aged 50 and above?
a) 1 in 6
b) 1 in 10
c) 1 in 12
d) 1 in 20
According to the CDC, older Americans are contracting HIV faster than those under 40. Why? Older people and their doctors are less likely to discuss sexual or drug use behavior. Many others lack knowledge about HIV prevention and may engage in sexually risky behaviors like having multiple partners or not using a condom, especially if a woman has gone through menopause. Older adults may also start HIV treatment later due to concerns over a stigma among older adults with HIV negatively affecting their quality of life, self-image, and behaviors. Many do not realize that because of their older age, HIV increases their risk for heart disease, lung disease, bone loss, and certain cancers.
8. What effective treatments are recommended for women experiencing painful postmenopausal intercourse?
a) Vaginal lubricants
b) Estrogen cream (vaginal estrogen therapy)
c) The medication Osphena
d) All of the above
Older women can improve sexual comfort with prescription treatments like estrogen cream and the nonhormonal drug Osphena.
Growing older does not mean an end to your sex life. But, like any part of your health, maintaining sexual health past 50 requires nurturing your intimate relationship with your significant other, staying knowledgeable about sexual health needs, and overall, living a healthy lifestyle. When these key factors are practiced regularly, you can expect the sexual flames to continue burning, keeping passion alive.