People have sex. It doesn't matter where in the world they are or how old they are, it's just a fact of life. People have sex – and they enjoy it. In fact, a recent study by the University of Manchester found that about half of men and about a third of women over the age of 70 were still engaging in regular sexual activity. The study, in which more than 7000 people were surveyed, revealed that it's actually very common for sex to continue well into our 70s and 80s and that, contrary to what some may think, there definitely is not an upper age limit on enjoying sex.
Of course there are some limitations. As people get older it can become more difficult to perform. Erectile dysfunction, difficulty reaching orgasm and even issues with endurance were recorded as barriers to sex and indeed, with that in mind, it's probably fair to assume that if these factors weren't an issue the number of over 70s taking part in sexual activity would rise further still.
So it's all looking good for sex – keep up the good work, but also remember that sexual health is very important. Recent research has shown that STIs are on the rise, including among the older demographics. It goes without saying that there's always a risk of contracting an infection if you have sex, no matter how old you are. Some experts have suggested that STIs are becoming more prevalent among the older generations simply because they are less likely to use contraception. A women who can no longer get pregnant may forego a condom, for example, and find out later she's got something else instead. Others have pointed to generational differences – people who are now in their 70s and 80s are perhaps more sexually free than their predecessors, so the theory goes, so it stands to reason that there would be more sex and therefore more risk.
In any case, it seems there is a genuine lack of education in the area of older people and sex. Sexual health campaigns are invariably aimed at young people and there is not enough information out there for anybody over the age of thirty. Indeed, in today's society most of the focus is on people in their late teenage years and early twenties.
So what's the answer in the meantime? Well, if you are sexually active older person and you value your sexual health (and you should), then you can seek advice online and from health professionals. Educate yourself about the risks and how to stay safe, and let your sexual partners know too.