Romance, passion and an active sex life aren’t just for the young, but also the young at heart, according to a new survey from older people’s charity Independent Age.
Published to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the survey of 2,002 older people revealed that more than half (52%) of those over 65 feel like they don’t have enough sex and one in six say the only reason they would stop having sex would be a lack of opportunity.
The survey also found that almost a third (30%) of over-65s have either had sex on a first date since turning 65, or would consider it. Meanwhile, one in 10 people aged 75 and over said they have had multiple sexual partners since they turned 65, suggesting that the appetite for a physical relationship does not necessarily diminish with age.
It wasn’t all about the sex though, as friendship, receiving a hug and having a romantic relationship were also highlighted by the survey as some of the most important things to people aged 65 and over. Other findings from the survey included:
- Only one in six people aged 80 and over (18%) say they feel like they have enough sex.
- More than one in four people (29%) aged 65 and over who are in a relationship that started in the past 10 years met their partner online.
- Condoms are the most used precaution against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) among people aged 65 and over, although around one in 11 (9%) say they do not take any precautions against STDs when they start having sex with a new partner.
- One in eight people aged 65 and over (13%) who are in a relationship say having sex is one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The survey is published alongside helpful guidance from Independent Age covering a range of issues around relationships in later life. The guidance includes:
- Coping with a changing relationship, perhaps due to retirement or ill health
- Getting back into dating in later life and the new options available for finding the right partner
- Practical considerations around marrying again or beginning a relationship with a new partner
- Sex in later life and how to continue enjoying it
- Ending a relationship and what it might mean in practical terms.
Commenting on the survey, Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, said: “Age is no barrier to having a sex life, and a lot of older people are more sexually active than many people may think. Strong relationships are important in later life, and ideas about friendship, romance and intimacy may well change throughout life.
“Close relationships can offer emotional support, and can make a difference by staving off loneliness and giving you resilience and support to get through difficult patches in life. However, sex, dating and relationships can be complex, and that does not stop when we get older.
“The ending of old relationships, and starting new ones, can be emotional, but they can also present financial, legal or practical challenges. To help you through this, our Relationships in Later Life guidance can help you navigate some of the issues you may face.”
You can access the guidance on Relationships in Later Lifer, and more besides, for free through the Independent Age website by clicking here.