“How Long Will I Love You?” – How Does Sex & Intimacy Change In Later Life?

We’re all travelling through time together, every day of our lives, all we can do is do our best, to relish this remarkable ride’. – Ellie Goulding, ” How long Will I Love You”

What factors affect the experience of our relationships as we age?

Our experience of love and relationships transforms across the course of our life.

In a new study of 7000 over 50s, called ‘How long will I love you? Sex and intimacy in later life’ published by MMU, The University of Manchester and ILC-UK examines the subject of sexual activities, romance and it’s correlation to wellbeing in later life.

Key findings include:

  • Women over 80 were likely to share the sexual likes of their partner, feel emotionally close to them and not feel obligated to have sex with them than those aged 50-79.
  • Men over 80 also reported that they were more likely to share the sexual likes of their partner and feel emotionally close to them than those aged 50-79. However, men over 80 also reported that they felt a greater degree of obligation to have sex with their partner than at any age between 50-79.

Using the Satisfaction with Life Scale measurement of subjective wellbeing, ‘How long will I love you?’ also found that for both men and women aged 50-90+, there was a positive association between frequency of kissing, fondling and petting and overall levels of subjective well-being. (via MMU)

Dr David Lee, University of Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing said:

“We know that positive sexuality and intimacy throughout the life course is linked to higher levels of happiness and well-being – irrespective of age. Older people have a right to good sexual health care and should be able to easily access joined up services to help them meet that goal.”

It’s an encouraging study which brings light to the health benefits an intimate relationship has for older people. It’s  a subject often ignored in healthcare and mainstream media, leading to misconceptions around the subject.

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, explains “Unfortunately, in 2017 there is still a need to dispel myths around relationships in later life.”

The benefits of an intimate relationship in later life are clear, providing a positive impact to health and well-being. This is a positive step towards “normalising conversations around sex in older people” (University of Manchester) and making sexual health care more readily available for the older demographic.

You can find the full study here: http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/


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