What does it really mean to be ‘sexually active’?

What does it really mean to be ‘sexually active’?

Are you still ‘sexually active’? 

There’s something condescending about that question, isn’t there? Almost as if there’s an implication that one day you’re supposed to deactivate your libido and that will be that. Usually, the person who’s asking you that question is a medical professional and they’re looking up at you, poised to insert something cold into an intimate part of your body.

Most people would agree that sex is pretty good when it occurs. Often, it’s the case that the less sex you have, the more important it becomes. But is sex really all that? Research on the sexuality of older Australians has found that while intercourse and sexual urges are considered important, the sex itself isn't necessarily what provides people with the feeling of being satisfied.

A study conducted by the Institute for Health and Ageing at Australian Catholic University found that desire for affectionate contact becomes more important over time for older people.

“The research shows that older Australians have an increasing desire for affectionate and intimate sexual behaviours, such as hugging, kissing and touching, with a trusted partner who respects them,” said lead researcher Ashley Macleod

That’s not to say, necessarily, that sexual urges diminish but, perhaps, what older people want in bed is quality over quantity.

Ms Macleod said everyday dialogue about sexuality fails to give a comprehensive representation of the sexual desires and activity of this demographic.

“Being ‘sexually active’ is so commonly associated with intercourse frequency, and sexual prowess, however our research shows that it’s much more. The fact of the matter is that, contrary to stereotype, older people aren’t asexual beings. In fact, they’re participating in sexual activity regularly – just in broader and more emotionally-stimulating ways,” said Ms Macleod.

Ms Macleod also said that there should be more open communication about human sexuality outside of the dominating reproductive years.

“Sexuality and intimacy play a significant role throughout the entire lifespan of humans, and yet our existing knowledge is based on research that looks almost solely at the sexuality of adults during their reproductive years.”

If you’re a heterosexual adult 45 years and over, you’re invited to participate in the second stage of the Institute for Health and Ageing’s study. Registrations for the online survey are open from now until January.

To register online, visit www.acu.edu.au/oasis or request a pre-paid questionnaire by post by contacting Ashley MacLeod at Ashley.Macleod@acu.edu.au or 03 9230 8103.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    17th Nov 2016
    When you don't feel like it, it doesn't mean anything.

    I went from highly active 56yo to nothing in ten years, all from medical problems.

    Firstly high doses of nerve pain medication killed off all the cosmic orgasms, then prostate cancer wiped out what was left.

    Now I look back on the old days and can't understand what I must have been thinking. What a silly way to behave. it was certainly a great motivator as it was in the background of everything I did.
    17th Nov 2016
    Sex is still very enjoyable for me, both the active, & more gentle. However I don't think it would be if my lady did not feel the same way.

    One of the things that has surprised me recently is my memories. For an old bloke, who can have trouble remembering where he put down that screw driver he was using when the phone rang, it has been surprising to suddenly have the memory of a young lady I have not seen or thought of for 50 years or more, pop into my head.

    These memories are very clear, as if they happened just yesterday. Interestingly it is only memories of these ladies, with none of things I've done, or places I've been, or unpleasant things that have happened. It really is great to have these memories come flooding back, reminding me of how lucky I've been, & what a great life I've had.
    17th Nov 2016
    trust a catholic university to come up with that one.
    can't they stop snooping in the bedroom?

    17th Nov 2016
    If you don't give one, you don't get one. Be sexually responsible.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles

    You May Like