In our era of record longevity, here’s another reason to stay healthy longer: it extends your sex life, according to a new University of Chicago study:

Stacy Tessler Lindau and Natalia Gavrilova of the University of Chicago analyzed data about health and sexual activity collected by two nationally representative surveys. The surveys involved 3,032 adults aged 25 to 74 and 3,005 adults aged 57 to 85 between 1995 and 2006.  Among key findings are:

  • Men More Sexually Active:  Particularly among individuals between the ages of 75 and 85, men report being more sexually active than women – 39 percent of men versus 17 percent of women.
  • Sexual Life Span:  Researchers found that the average person’s sex life winds down by the age of 70. By age 55, men can hope for another 15 years while women generally have another 11 years of sexual activity. But . . . At age 55, men in very good or excellent health on average gained 5-7 years of sexually active life compared with their peers in poor or fair health. Women in very good or excellent health gained 3-6 years compared with women in poor or fair health.
  • Interest in Sex:  Overall, people in very good or excellent health were 1.5 to 1.8 times more likely to report an interest in sex than those in poorer health.
  • Interest Gap:  Across all age groups, men were more interested in sex than women, and the gap increased with age.

Changing Aging Editor’s Note:  Seventy seems very young to have a person’s sex life be depleted.