Sexologist, Dr Narayana Redyy, busts myths around old people and sex with his latest research 'Sexual Behaviour of the Ageing Population'. According to Reddy, older people are having more sex than one can think.
Dr Narayana Reddy conducted research on men and women from the age group 50 to 91 years for 10 years in Chennai. From 2005 to 2015, Reddy interviewed 2071 individuals from Chennai, of which 72.91% were males and 27.09% were females. Reddy says, "People tend to think that once you cross 50 you become asexual but that it (sic) not true. I decided to do the study as I wanted to tell people that age has got nothing to do with sexual functioning, only the pace slows down,"
Reddy recently presented his study at a conference hosted at the Indian Psychiatric Society. He mentioned that since all the interviews were face-to-face, the sample size is smaller. He said it is important to explore and address the sexual needs of the elderly. With the increase in life expectancy rates, more elderly are living a healthy and sexually active life.
The study focuses on the sexual behaviours of older people. The research suggests that "In the initial days of marriage, especially if it is an arranged one, the woman may be shy and not very responsive as she doesn't know her husband. But once she has lived with him for years, she loses her inhibition and participates actively”
According to the study, 22.65% husbands and 24.06% wives said they had initiated sex, while more than 68% of men and 87% of women said that their spouses participated in sex enthusiastically.
The research also explored people’s sexual behaviours outside of marriage. Interestingly, 29.87% of men and 16.76% of women admitted to having had extra-marital sex. 45.01% of men gave lack of privacy as a reason while 23.95% said it was due to nonavailability of wife. 4% of the women, reasoned out saying they had affairs and 6.38% admitted to doing it for sexual satisfaction.
The research also explored reasons for reduced or lack of sexual activity altogether. 29.47% of men reported erectile dysfunction as a reason, and more 16.63% cited other related illnesses as a reason. 12.59% of men said lack of privacy as one of the reasons for lack of sex in their lives. 23.52% of women stop having sex because of their partner’s sexual problems, 18.89% of women’s reason was sex-related illnesses, and 18.18% said the lack of a partner as a reason.
Sexologist, Dr Narayana Reddy says, “The sexual needs of the elderly are often not taken into consideration. Children should also understand that their parents are not asexual”. Dr Reddy accepts that ageing does slow down the working of the body, and arousal can take longer after a certain age.
The study shows that geriatric sexual problems in men include erectile dysfunction (41.52%), decreased libido (12.38%), and dyspareunia or painful sexual intercourse (10.53%). In women, it includes orgasmic dysfunction (34.76%), reduced/ lack of desire (16.22%) and dyspareunia (11.05%).
While most issues can be managed and treated by several scientific interventions, Dr Reddy also says that there's a need to change the negative attitude of people towards sex, family counselling, marital counselling supportive psychotherapy and sex therapy.