By Frank James
It's a stereotype, the aging man still keenly interested in sex, the aging woman, not so much.
Some University of Chicago researchers have added statistical support for the cliche, with data indicating that, yes, more men of a certain age do seem more excited by sex than women of the same age.
According to an abstract of the study in BMJ, the name the British Medical Journal now goes by:
Overall, men were more likely than women to be sexually active, report a good quality sex life, and be interested in sex. These gender differences increased with age and were greatest among the 75 to 85 year old group: 38.9% of men compared with 16.8% of women were sexually active, 70.8% versus 50.9% of those who were sexually active had a good quality sex life, and 41.2% versus 11.4% were interested in sex.
The study doesn't get into why this should be. It does make you wonder why the difference, One possible theory is that as far as nature is concerned, sex is really about reproduction despite the moral, cultural overlay we humans place on it.
If that's so, then men's longer interest in sex relative to women would make sense since it would somewhat track the differences in male and female fertility.
One factor that seems to make a difference, the data suggest, is if people have a sex partner who is ready, willing and able, so to speak. That's a bit of a no-brainer. The relevant excerpt:
At age 30, sexually active life expectancy was 34.7 years for men and 30.7 years for women compared with 14.9 to 15.3 years for men and 10.6 years for women at age 55. This gender disparity attenuated for people with a spouse or other intimate partner.
The study also found support for another self-evident point: healthier men and women were more sexually active than less healthy members of the same age cohort.
Yet one more reason to stick to that workout schedule.