WATERLOO, Ontario — Men may deal with the frustration of erectile dysfunction as they age and women may battle the side effects that come with menopause, but no matter how many years pass you by or maladies you encounter, the strength of your sex life depends on how young you feel, a new study finds.
“For people in mid to later life, feeling young at heart actually appears to make a difference in the bedroom,” says study co-author Steven Mock, an associate professor in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University Waterloo, in a school press release.
Mock and his team of researchers examined two waves of data from a longitudinal study of 1,170 middle aged adults and seniors — participants ranged from their mid-40s to mid-70s — between 1995 and 2005. The individuals studied covered a range of sexual orientation.
The participants were surveyed on their frequency of sex, along with their attitudes on the quality of the sexual activity they were engaged in and their interest in sexual activity over the 10 years.
Those who felt as old as their actual age reported less satisfaction when it came to their sex life. That is, the older they felt, the less they enjoyed being sexually active.
“What was clear from the data is that feeling younger had a huge impact on how people felt about the quality of their sex life and how interested they were in having sex,” explains mock.
The data used for the research was pulled from the Midlife in the United States study, which focuses on the health and wellbeing of middle-aged U.S. residents. The researchers noted that one’s subjective age — how old they actually felt — did not have any influence on how much sex they were partaking in.
“It’s important to consider all of the different psychosocial and biological factors that might influence a person’s sexuality,” says lead researcher Amy Estill, who was completing her Master’s degree at Waterloo while overseeing the study. “While feeling younger didn’t have an impact on how much sex people were having, it was quite clear that feeling older does impact the quality of the sex you’re having.”
The study’s findings were recently published in the Journal of Sex Research.