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For Women, Active Sex Life May Mean Better Aging

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual satisfaction in older women is associated with successful aging and a better quality of life, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at information gathered from over 1,200 San Diego women, aged 60 to 89, and found that satisfaction with overall sex life was reported by 67 percent of those aged 60 to 69; 60 percent of those aged 70 to 79; and 61 percent of those aged 80 to 89.

"Contrary to our earlier hypothesis, sexual satisfaction was not significantly associated with age," study co-author Wesley K. Thompson, an assistant professor of psychiatry with the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, said in a UCSD news release.

"Although the levels of sexual activity and functioning did vary significantly, depending on the woman's age, their perceived quality of life, successful aging and sexual satisfaction remained positive," he said.

The study is published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"What this study tells us is that many older adults retain their ability to enjoy sex well into old age," Thompson said. "This is especially true of older adults who maintain a higher level of physical and mental health as they grow older. Furthermore, feeling satisfied with your sex life -- whatever your levels of sexual activity -- is closely related to your perceived quality of life."

While "we cannot assess cause and effect from this study, these results suggest that maintaining a high level of sexual satisfaction may positively reinforce other psychological aspects of successful aging," he concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about sexuality later in life.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, August 2011

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