A good sex life depends on good health, not age


The state of your health rather than your age is the greatest determinant of a good sex life, and an active sex life is associated with health in middle and later life, according to an expert in sexual medicine who is speaking in Dublin tonight.

Dr Stacey Lindau, associate professor of obstetrics/gynaec-
ology and medicine geriatrics at the University of Chicago, will give the annual lecture at the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing on the theme of sex, health and long life.

“I would like to counter the myth that people in middle age and older life are not sexually active. Not everybody is, but a good proportion of the population are. Age is not a death sentence for our sex lives and, for some people, it even gets better with age.”

Dr Lindau runs a programme in integrative sexual medicine that provides care for and studies female sexual function in the context of ageing and common illnesses. Her studies have shown that frequency of sexual activity, a good quality sex life, and interest in sex are positively associated with health in middle age and later life. Her latest study found that men live a significantly greater proportion of their adult life as sexually active (due, at least in part, to more years of partnership than women), yet lose significantly more years of sexually active life as a result of poor health than women do.

Sexual problems among older adults are infrequently discussed with doctors, according to Dr Lindau. “People feel doctors should be capable of addressing their sexual concerns and doctors should be the ones to raise the issue. I would encourage doctors to bring the topic up with their patients but patients who want to have better sexual function or are experiencing sexual problems due to ageing or illness should not be afraid to broach the subject themselves.”

Dr Lindau said many women can and do regain sexual function. For some, it is a matter of time, others may have relationship issues and, in some cases, psychological or other treatment is needed.

Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing annual lecture will be held tonight at 7pm in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. See misa.ie