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Sex After 65 Linked to Happiness

Research confirms importance of sexuality

En español | Older married couples who still engage in sexual activity are more likely to report happiness in their relationship and with their lives overall than those who have sex infrequently, according to research presented at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting in Boston.

See also: 10 ways you can improve your sex life.

Senior couple who have more sex enjoy their relationship more

OJO Images/Getty Images

This may seem at first blush like news that’s likely to surprise very few—you mean to tell me sex makes people happy?—but there are some who believe sex stops mattering to older adults (despite all the evidence to the contrary).

This research confirms the importance of sexuality to those over 65, said lead researcher Adrienne Jackson, who hopes the 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.”

Jackson’s research, based on the 2004 General Social Survey of American adults, found the number of “very happy” married individuals 65 and older was 60 percent among those who had sex more than once a month. Only 40 percent who had not had sex in the last 12 months considered themselves “very happy.”  The results held even after adjusting for happiness-influencing factors such as age, gender, health and finances, researchers note.

In terms of marital happiness, 80 percent of those who had sex frequently said they had it, compared to 59 percent of those who hadn’t had sex within the year prior to the survey. The study, however, is correlational—meaning it’s not clear whether sex makes older couples happier, or whether happier older couples are more likely to have sex.

Also of Interest: Are you healthy enough for sex?