Older people have sexual needs and desires, too—something younger folks don't often consider (or think about for that matter). Some may be shocked or relieved to hear that recent research, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, has found that older people enjoy having sex well into their seventies and eighties.

Lead author and Age UK Research Fellow at The University of Manchester's School of Social Sciences, David Lee, commented on his findings in a recent article for The Conversation, telling how health professionals and younger folks should dash away those preconceived notions of sexuality (or lack thereof) later on in life. Lee writes that 54 percent of men and 31 percent of women over the age of 70 reported being sexually active.

The study was comprised of over 7,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 90 in England. It's the first of its kind to include people over the age of 80. The participants answered a series of questions about their sexual activities and problems they encountered being active later on in life.

Women frequently reported issues of becoming aroused and achieving orgasm with their partners, whereas men were most plagued by issues of erectile dysfunction.

“We hope our findings improve public health by countering stereotypes and misconceptions about late-life sexuality, and offer older people a reference against which they may relate their own experiences and expectations."

Among younger folks, and perhaps even health professionals, the idea of sex between an older couple may seem taboo. But the reality is that men and women continue to go on to have fulfilling sexual relationships. Most of their complications and worries are different than what more youthful, sexually active people may face, but they demand attention and recognition among the health community.

Lee references one woman, Patricia, who openly talked about her own sexual experiences at 81 to author Iris Krasnow, writer of the book Sex After:

“It’s not teenage sex, but it’s very satisfying. We love to experiment. We love to dance. There is a lot of cuddling and snuggling. This man, my God, is a gem in every way, whether it’s sexual or spiritual or cultural. It’s so romantic it’s almost electrifying.”

Whether it's a relief or a shock, it's out there: sex doesn't have to end at 50 or 60.

Read more at The Conversation.

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn/Flickr