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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 10:43 GMT
Older men 'happy with sex lives'
Does sex get more satisfying with age?
Men in their 50s have more satisfying sex lives than men in their 30s, a survey suggests.

A team from Norway and the US surveyed 1,185 men aged between 20 and 79, and found more problems with impotence and declining sex drive in older men.

But despite this, men in their 50s reported similar levels of satisfaction with their sex lives as those in their 20s.

Details are published in the urology journal BJU International.

Although men experience more problems and less sexual function as they get older, it doesn't necessarily follow that they are less satisfied with their sex lives as a result
Professor Sophie Fossa

The men, who responded to a postal questionnaire, were asked to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of their sex life on a scale of zero to four, with four representing good sexual function and no problems.

Men in their 20s recorded an average overall satisfaction level of 2.79, while the second highest level was among those in their 50s, who recorded an average of 2.77.

Men in their 30s only reached 2.55, and men in their 40s averaged 2.72.

After the age of 59, overall satisfaction fell significantly to 2.46 for men in their 60s and to 2.14 for men in their 70s.

However, when it came to sexual function, each of the scores moved steadily downwards toward zero as the respondents got older, indicating lower levels of function and more problems.

  • The average score for satisfaction with sexual drive was 2.19 out of four, ranging from 2.79 for men in their 20s to 1.54 for men in their 70s

  • Satisfaction with erections averaged 2.83, falling sharply once men reached their 50s; men in their 20s scored 3.63, men in their 50s 3.03 and men in their 70s 1.6

  • Satisfaction with ejaculation averaged 3.28 and showed a more measured decline with age, falling more sharply for men in their 60s and 70s. Men in their 20s averaged 3.85 while men in their 70s averaged 2.32

'Less hung up'

Researcher Professor Sophie Fossa, from the Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Trust in Oslo, said: "The results showed a very strong correlation between men getting older and reduced sexual functioning, but not between age and sexual satisfaction.

"Age accounted for a 22% variance in sexual drive, a 33% variance in erection issues and a 23% variance in ejaculation issues.

"But age only accounted for a variance of 3% in overall satisfaction.

"Our results show that, although men experience more problems and less sexual function as they get older, it doesn't necessarily follow that they are less satisfied with their sex lives as a result."

Ronald Bracey, a psychologist with a special interest in male sexuality, told the BBC News website he was not surprised by the results.

"Men in their 30s and 40s are often too stressed by things such as being successful in their career to enjoy sex.

"But by the time men get into their 50s, they have usually adjusted to what they want out of life, and tend to be less hung up, less concerned by what other people think of them, and less prone to performance anxiety."


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