Sunday, March 2, 2014

Is There A Connection Between Sex And Healthier Aging?


From an article by Michaeleen Doucleff: A Strong Sex Life helps Couples Cope with the Trials of Aging on the NPR site


"Health problems can put a strain on a marriage at any age. But as we get older, chronic illnesses can make it even tougher to keep the spark alive.

Scientists at the University of Chicago have uncovered one way couples can offset the stresses of illness and aging: more physical intimacy.

Couples who continue to be sexually active over the years report higher levels of satisfaction in their marriages, the sociologists last month.

And it doesn't take much to give a relationship a boost. Going from essentially no sexual activity during a year to sex once each month or so was associated with an increase in marital quality, according to those surveyed.

"To protect marital quality in later life, it may be important for older adults to find ways to stay engaged in sexual activity, even as health problems render familiar forms of sexual interaction difficult or impossible," sociologists Adena Galinsky and write in The Journals of Gerontology B.

And intercourse wasn't necessary to maintain intimacy. "As individuals age, the means of sexual expression may change," the researchers write. "Our measure of sexual behaviors was designed to be inclusive; it asks explicitly about any activities with one's partner that were sexually arousing, noting that they did not need to result in orgasm."

To figure out the relationship between sex, marital happiness and health, Galinsky and Waite analyzed data from nearly 500 couples between ages 58 and 85. Most of the couples had been married for at least 40 years...."

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What have you experienced in your relationship?   To the extent that you are able to be intimate with your partner -- does it make quality of life and health better?

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