Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Surprised: Sex is Good For Older People, Too

The acronym “GSA” is usually used around here for Genetic Sexual Attraction or Gay-Straight Alliance. But this time it stands for Gerontological Society of America. Gerontology is the study of aging and the elderly.

The more often older married individuals engage in sexual activity, the more likely they are to be happy with both their lives and marriages, according to new research presented in Boston at The Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) 64th Annual Scientific Meeting.

Sex is good. Is that a surprise?

The data analysis was conducted by Adrienne Jackson, PT, PhD, MPA, an assistant professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

“This study will help open the lines of communication and spark interest in developing ‘outside the box’ approaches to dealing with resolvable issues that limit or prevent older adults from participating in sexual activity,” said Jackson.

This is where the 13-year-old boy who still exists in my brain makes a silly joke about it actually being inside the box.

“Highlighting the relationship between sex and happiness will help us in developing and organizing specific sexual health interventions for this growing segment of our population.”

Based on the survey responses of 238 married individuals age 65 years or older, Jackson discovered that frequency of sexual activity was a significant predictor of both general and marital happiness. The association even remained after accounting for factors such as age, gender, health status, and satisfaction with financial situation.

I wonder what the results would show for unmarried, but sexually active people, and people in longer-term relationships that have been denied the freedom to marry?

Relating this a little more to our main issue here at Full Marriage Equality, sometimes older people will find lovers or even spouses who are much younger. There are people who continue to frown on this, though more so when the relationship is an older woman with a younger man, perhaps a lingering effect of the mentality that women are supposed to be financially dependent on men and birth babies (or, sex is only for reproduction.) In addition to all of the other challenges to this mentality, people are living longer, and there’s no reason why people should have to give up sex if they still want it. Intergenerational relationships can be mutually beneficial, and this study is more proof of that.

Something else that happens and is not often talked about is widowed, divorced, or never married older people finding full companionship with a relative, such as a cousin or sibling.
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