Study Sheds New Light on Intimate Lives of Older Americans
A majority of older Americans are sexually active and view intimacy as an important part of their lives according to research supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Schmalfeldt: You might have heard the old saying, "There may be snow on the roof, but there's still fire in the furnace." Turns out that—for most older Americans—it's true! A majority of older Americans are sexually active and view intimacy as an important part of their lives according to research supported by the National Institutes of Health. The National Social Life, Health and Aging Project found that despite increased sexual problems that sometimes come with age, older adults—in general—are enjoying intimacy, and would love to talk about that part of their lives with their doctors—if their doctors would only raise the issue. Georgeanne E. Patmios is Acting Chief of the Populations and Social Processes Branch of the Behavioral and Social Research Program at the National Institute on Aging. She said if doctors want to know what's going on with older folks and their sex lives, a good way to find out is—just ask!
Patmios: Despite the aging of the population, we have known little about sexuality among older adults. And we also know that physicians have lacked nationally—representative information about older adult sexuality to talk about with their patients. We also know that older patients want to discuss these issues with their doctors, but doctors don't engage in this discussion.
Schmalfeldt: This project represents the first comprehensive, nationally representative survey to assess the sex lives of folks in their late 50s and beyond. Implications for health education efforts include preventing transmission of sexually transmitted diseases in this age group, as 15 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV infections are among Americans over age 50. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Ms. Georgeanna E. Patmios