Lilia Malkin, BSc
Although many men consider a decline in sexual desire and sexual function a part of the "normal" aging process, this common misconception is being replaced by the increasingly positive outlook on sexuality that is becoming more prevalent among the geriatric population. A large proportion of older men regularly engage in sexual activity and many are addressing physical and emotional barriers, as well as some prevalent myths about sexuality.
A recent study conducted by The National Council On the Aging (NCOA) surveyed 1,300 older Americans and found that 61 percent of American males aged 60 and over are sexually active. The percentage of men who enjoy an active sex life does decline with increasing age; while 71 percent report being sexually active in their sixties, only 27 percent remain so in the 80 and over age group. However, lack of a steady partner presents one of the major barriers to continued sexual activity in the elderly, since 50 percent of men over 80 years of age who do have a partner engage in sex. Furthermore, while 39 percent of American men aged 60 and over stated that they were satisfied with how often they participated in sexual activity, the same percentage of respondents wished to increase the frequency of occasions in which they have sex.
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