Intended for healthcare professionals


Sexual activity in middle to later life

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 10 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c850
  1. Patricia Goodson, professor
  1. 1Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, 4243 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4243, USA
  1. pgoodson{at}

    Better health leads to frequent, good quality sex in older adults

    A cursory search of the BMJ’s archives using the terms “sexuality” and “older adults” yields one study report and one editorial, both published in the past decade.1 2 Using the terms “sexual activity” and “elderly” yields only two additional citations, which focus on gynaecological and epidemiological topics.3 4 If for no other reason than that of filling a glaring void, the linked study by Lindau and Gavrilova (doi:10.1136/bmj.c810) represents a refreshing addition to the BMJ’s sexuality and ageing repertoire.5 The study is equally refreshing because it offers a health enhancing, health promoting perspective: most human sexuality studies—especially those informing healthcare professionals—centre on outlining problems, diagnosing illnesses, and managing treatments. To unearth positive news amid the rubble of a trouble focused literature is just as refreshing, stimulating, and invigorating as good healthy sex.

    Lindau and Gavrilova examined data from two cross sectional surveys of ageing populations in the United States (national survey of midlife development in the United States (MIDUS) and national social life, health and aging project (NSHAP)). …

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