Of course, that is a bit of a generalization so let’s take a closer look at the data and the analysis.
The study involved 7,000 people between the ages of 50 and 90 who self-reported their sexual activity in the past year. For the study “frequent sexual activity” has been defined, by the study authors, is having sex more than two times per month.
The data for the study was extracted from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. This is a long-term study of the English population over the age of 50. In looking at this data, the researchers found that sexual activity as a modifiable target in general well-being, which was then associated with positive health outcomes.
According to a press release from Anglia Ruskin University Reader in Exercise Medicine, Dr. Lee Smith, “Previous research has suggested that frequent sexual intercourse is associated with a range of benefits for psychological and physiological well-being, such as improved quality of life and mental health, and lower risk of certain cancers and fatal coronary events.”
It should be noted that in this self-reporting study, women did not necessarily report higher enjoyment of life in relation to a frequent sexual activity (as the men did). However, previous studies indicate that older women have associated sexual pleasure—and orgasms, to be specific—with more longevity.
In addition, University College London Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care’s Dr. Sarah Jackson notes that these benefits are not limited to each man or women, but encouraging older adults to increase their sexual activity might actually have more benefits throughout the overall health care system.
In a press release, she says, “Promoting well-being in later life is a public health priority…if encouraging and supporting people to continue to enjoy a healthy sex life in old age could help to boost well-being, there may be benefits both for the individual and for the sustainability of health services.”
Unfortunately, however, while the data suggest that older adults would probably benefit from having more sex, a study from 2016 shows that 94 percent of adults in their fifties already reported being sexually active; though only 31 percent of adults over 80 said the same.