Contact: Almar Kok
Although it is often thought that older persons are not capable or have a lack of interest in sex, many consider sexuality important and wish to remain sexually active as they age (Gott et al 2003, Jung et al 2004). Sexual activity has been demonstrated to decrease with age in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies (Lindau et al. 2007). However, epidemiologic data about sexual activity in older persons is scarce. In a recent study among men, about 50% consider sex important, and one third report being sexually active. Men’s health problems were associated with lack of sexual activity. Risk factors included diabetes, depression, and medication use (Hyde et al. 2010). In a recent LASA study we also found that elderly people still rate sexuality and intimacy to be important at their age (Hartmans et al 2015)
Measurement instruments in LASA
Three to five questions about the respondent’s perception and opinion about sexuality were included during LASA measurements. On baseline of the first, second and third cohort three question were included: Q1: How did you experience your sexual life in the past (as an adult)? Q2: How important is sexuality for you now? and Q3 How do you feel about your sexual life now?
During the 4th follow-up measurement of the first cohort two additional questions were included: Q4 measured the respondent’s opinion about sexuality in general: “At this age sexuality is not important anymore.” Q5 assessed the current need for intimacy and touch: “Now that I am getting older, I still need intimacy and being touched ”.
LASAB120 / LASAE120 / LAS2B120 / LASAF120 / LAS3B120 (self-administered questionnaire, in Dutch)
LASAB120 / LASAE120 / LAS2B120 / LASAF120/ LAS3B120
Availability of information per wave ¹
|Q1 in LASA120||Sa||-||-||Sa||Sa||-||-||-||Sa||-||-||-|
|Q2 and Q3 in|
|Q42 and Q5 in|
¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.
* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
K=future wave 2021-2022
Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire
Previous use in LASA
Recently, Hartman et al showed with LASA data that higher cognitive functioning was associated with the way in which older people perceive or rate their current sexuality (Hartman et al 2015).
- Gott M, Hinchliff S. How important is sex in later life? The views of older people. Soc Sci Med. 2003; 56(8):1617-28.
- Hartmans C, Comijs HC, Jonker C. The Perception of Sexuality in Older Adults and Its Relationhip with Cognitive Functioning. Am J Ger Psychiatry. 2015 23(3):243-252.
- Hyde Z, Flicker L, Hankey GJ, et al. Prevalence of sexual activity and associated factors in men aged 75 to 95 years: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2010 7;153(11):693-702.
- Jung A, Schill WB. Male sexuality with advancing age. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 15;113(2):123-5. Review.
- Lindau ST, Schumm LP, Laumann EO, et al. A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2007 23;357(8):762-74.
Date of last update: May, 2016