New research gives seniors a reason to get busy, wear condoms
The health benefits of regularly having sex are well known, but a recent study from researchers at Rostock University in Germany has new information that may be of special interest to the ever-growing senior population. According to the Daily Mail, the team of scientists found that sex in the golden years can help prevent memory loss and confusion.
Researchers interviewed 170 people between the ages of 63 and 75 to reach their conclusion. They found evidence that those who were sexually satisfied were more likely to have a sharper, "younger" mind.
"The results clearly show that staying active in later life – and this includes having sex – helps keep you cognitively active," Dr. Peter Kropp, one of the lead researchers, told the news source.
Kropp explained to the media outlet that many people in their 20s assume their sex life will come to an end by the time they reach 50. However, as they grow older, this sexual expiration date is continually pushed back. By the time a man reaches 50, he is more likely to think that he will stop having sex when he's in his 80s.
Older adults who have lost their ability to make love can still benefit from intimacy, the researchers pointed out. Dr. Knopp explained that for such couples, holding hands or giving a loving glance can be just as important.
While this research suggests sex can help keep older people in shape, if seniors don't wear protection when they're in the sack then the potential health hazards may outweigh the benefits. Some older people may assume that, since they can't get pregnant, they no longer have to wear condoms. This myth has led to staggeringly high STD rates in senior communities.
A separate study recently published in Student BMJ found more than 80 percent of people between the ages of 60 and 90 are sexually active, and the number of STDs among this group has doubled in the past 10 years.
According to ABC, the researchers believe that part of the issue stems from the availability of drugs like Viagra, which may help older men overcome their erectile dysfunction and allow them to have sex more often.
"People are making midlife changes and going back into dating and maybe never have used condoms when they started out many years ago," Eli Coleman, director of the Program in Human Sexuality and the University of Minnesota Medical School, told the news source. "They also think of their grandmother's old fashioned condoms and know nothing about the availability of them now or how to use them."
In Florida, STDs among older people is such a large issue that the Florida Department of Health is asking young adults to have "the talk," usually reserved for teenagers, with their own elderly parents, reports the Miami Herald. Relaying vital sexual health information could help keep grandma or grandpa STD-free.
"It's gonna be embarrassing," Marlene LaLota, HIV prevention director for the state, told the Herald. "Anything that gets the ball rolling. Remember the roles were reversed once upon a time – where it was the mother having the conversation with the daughter 30 or 40 years ago."
The newspaper reports that the almost a fifth of all new HIV cases in the Sunshine State occurred in people over 50, with most of them living in the southern part of the state. If this trend continues, it could mean that in 2015, most of those who are living with the illness will have already turned 50.