SEATTLE -- Sex remains an important part of life for many older Americans even as they develop more sexual problems as they age, researchers here reported.
SEATTLE, May 7 -- Sex remains an important part of life for many older Americans even as they develop more sexual problems as they age, researchers here reported.
In a nationwide survey of 3,005 community-dwelling adults ages 57 to 85, about a third of men and roughly 25% of women said that sex was an important part of their lives.
But among men and women who said they had sexual problems ranging form diminished libido to erectile dysfunction, only 28% said they had discussed those problems with a physician, said Stacy Lindau, M.D., of the University of Chicago at the American Geriatrics Society meeting.
"Interestingly, this study suggests that sexual practices and behaviors are not very different in this age group than they are in studies of younger people," she said, reporting results of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project survey.
And regardless of age, sexual activity is closely related to health. "At any age healthier people are more likely to report active sex lives," she said.
Jane Potter, M.D., a professor of geriatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and immediate past president of the AGS, said the findings should serve as a wakeup call to physicians treating older patients about the need to include direct questions about sexuality as part of routine clinical assessment.
Investigators conducted in-home interviews with 1,550 women and 1,455 men from July 2005 through March 2006.
Among the findings: