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Old 02-21-2006, 11:32 AM   #1
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Study: Men in Their 50s More Sexually Satisfied Than Younger Men

Do I really want to post this? OK, I'm gonna post it.
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Men in their 50s more satisfied with their sex lives

by Tom Spears
Vancouver Sun
February 21, 2006


Men in their 50s have happier sex lives than guys in their 30s and 40s, despite the indignities of bodies that sputter like an old car, a joint Norwegian and American study suggests. Fifty-five-year-olds, in fact, can still get satisfaction nearly on a par with kids 30 years younger.

The study of nearly 1,200 men in Norway acknowledges that men in their 50s are starting to lose their physical oomph. Published in a urology journal called BJU International, it carries graphic detail of erections, or the lack of them, and everything else involved in the male reproductive tract. But the study also looks beyond the purely physical and asks: Are you happy with your sex life?

And it found that the 50s are a prime time to be a man in that respect -- almost tied on the ratings scale with men in their 20s. (Sadly, after age 59, the satisfaction level drops right off.)

The men in the survey were aged 20 to 79. They were asked to rate many aspects of their sex lives on a scale of zero to four, where four represents "good sexual function and no problems." Men in their 20s reported an average satisfaction level of close to 2.79. But the fifty-somethings were practically tied with them, at over 2.77. Men in their 30s were the least happy, at 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.

While a man's sex drive and his body decline in a predictable way with age, "there wasn't such a strong link between age and overall sexual satisfaction," the team says in a written summary of their work. The study is by researchers at the University of Oslo, University of Bergen and Harvard Medical School.

It all makes perfect sense to Guy Grenier, a psychologist and sex therapist who teaches at the University of Western Ontario. "People who aren't young and perfect tend to be de-sexualized in our society. So the very fact that you're asking that question (why older men feel satisfied) is a reflection of this.
Look at our media images. Who's sexy? Who's got the hot bod? It isn't a 40-year-old, isn't a 50-year-old." Yet, he says sex therapists agree that growing older fits perfectly with sexual happiness. "These results are consistent with what we find in women as well," he noted. "In older age groups, people are less hung up about performance. People have learned more about themselves. They are more comfortable in their relationship. They have found ways to express their sexual needs. They're less focused on performance, so sex becomes a moment to be intimate and to bond with somebody."

Ronald Bracey, a psychologist with a special interest in male sexuality, told the BBC News website he too was not surprised by the results. "Men in their thirties and forties are often too stressed by things such as being successful in their career to enjoy sex. But by the time men get into their fifties 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."
Nothing shocking here really, but it is interesting to note that men and women in their 30s and 40s experience more of a decline in sexual satisfaction than 50-somethings do. I doubt career and family stress alone is sufficient to explain this--I think the preoccupation of many people this age with lamenting the loss of being young, highly libidinous and conventionally desirable (i.e., young and "fresh" like the stars on the cover of Rolling Stone's "Hot" issue or whatever) feeds into it also. Probably this effect is even more pronounced in women--perhaps they will do a follow-up on that.

It's sad that things decline so much after 59, but I would like to think most people that age are more able to take comfort in pleasure and intimacy from other sources without beating themselves up emotionally for having to do so. You never outgrow your need for love and connectedness, but there are a thousand and one ways to pursue that once you're sufficiently at peace with the reality of progressively increasing limitations to center your emotional life on other pleasures.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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It would be interesting to see the percentage of men (and women) who were married (or other long term relationships).

The media portrays the lust aspect of sex. Sex in marriage is more driven by the love (agape) aspect of sex. I would suggest that the relationship adds a far deeper aspect to sex (and thus more satisfying) than the base physical components found in lust driven sex.
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:50 PM   #3
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I would suggest that the relationship adds a far deeper aspect to sex (and thus more satisfying) than the base physical components found in lust driven sex.
I would think that is probably true, I want to believe it's true for men.

I also wonder how many of these men in the study are in relationships with people their own age. I would like to believe most and that they don't need some young chick in order to feel that way

Of course it is Norway, I wonder if the same is true in the US

I like the name of the urology journal
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:52 PM   #4
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they're probably taking money out of their 401K's to buy prostitutes.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:28 PM   #5
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I was wondering about the relationship factor, too--I also am inclined to suspect that people in committed relationships probably fared somewhat better on these scores, if only (and to be cynical about it) because they have the confidence-booster of At Least Someone Still Wants Me. On the other hand, people in committed relationships are hardly immune to the fear of becoming less desirable, and that can bring down the quality of the sexual relationship even if commitment to the relationship overall remains. While knowing someone is there for you (and you for them) is a powerfully affirming thing, agape isn't always going to trump flagging sexual self-esteem. For better or for worse, our awareness of ourselves as sexual beings isn't limited to our actual sexual relationships, and that can have implications for said relationships no matter how strong the love is.

Maybe I just know too many self-loathing 30- and 40-something divorcees and that's making me cynical...on the other hand, some of my married friends that age wonder aloud occasionally where their sex lives have gone to, too, and more often than not they seem to be implicitly blaming the (mutual) loss of their formerly everready libidos for the problem. To me, that ought to have little bearing on their sexual satisfaction really, but at the same time, I can see how their preoccupation with "We're just not what we used to be"--which I suspect comes mostly from sources outside the marriage (or hangups they possess as individuals, rather than jointly) could really dampen their sexual enthusiasm for each other.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:28 PM   #6
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Re: Study: Men in Their 50s More Sexually Satisfied Than Younger Men

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Originally posted by yolland

Nothing shocking here really, but it is interesting to note that men and women in their 30s and 40s experience more of a decline in sexual satisfaction than 50-somethings do. I doubt career and family stress alone is sufficient to explain this--I think the preoccupation of many people this age with lamenting the loss of being young, highly libidinous and conventionally desirable (i.e., young and "fresh" like the stars on the cover of Rolling Stone's "Hot" issue or whatever) feeds into it also. Probably this effect is even more pronounced in women--perhaps they will do a follow-up on that.

Many people I know in that age group (30's - 40's) are so exhausted by their careers, children, home, and family, that sex does not come very high on their list of priorities. Further (and I'm speaking mainly for females here, I've not had this conversation with many men ) I find it hard to buy that aging into the 30's and 40s would have a negative impact on sexuality. Most women that I know of in that age group would tell you that they've become very comfortable with themselves, cognitively, emotionally, and physically, to a much larger degree than they were in their teens or 20's, but that's just a personal observation.

It would be interesting to look at other correlations - married or single, length of relationship, age of children, careers/ses. I think that may provide more clues as to what the causes might be.

As for men in their 50's, social psychology/stages of life research has shown that men of this age group tend to mellow, become less aggressive and concerned with careers, and become more loving, nurturing, and relationship-oriented. The converse is true for women, however. After years of nurturing and being placed in the role of the caregiver, they tend to become more assertive and self-oriented. Perhaps this tendency for men and women to essentially swap traits to a certain degree during this stage of their lives lends itself to a more satisfying sexual experience.

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It's sad that things decline so much after 59, but I would like to think most people that age are more able to take comfort in pleasure and intimacy from other sources without beating themselves up emotionally for having to do so. You never outgrow your need for love and connectedness, but there are a thousand and one ways to pursue that once you're sufficiently at peace with the reality of progressively increasing limitations to center your emotional life on other pleasures.
If you look at the numbers, the differences between men in their 30's and men in their 60's are negligable - probably not even statistically significant. My guess is that though physical difficulties may surface in the 60's, by the time males reach their 70's, they become pronounced and common enough to then impact sexuality in a much more negative way.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:31 PM   #7
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here's hoping it just gets better and better and better ...


(though being in my 20's, it appears as if i have two decades of disappointment head ...)
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


I would think that is probably true, I want to believe it's true for men.

I also wonder how many of these men in the study are in relationships with people their own age. I would like to believe most and that they don't need some young chick in order to feel that way
The older man going after the younger women highlights the "conquest" component some men are after. Satisfaction may not come from a relationship, or even the sexual act itself, but only with the "victory" of bedding another person. I've got to imagine that after a while, that gets old.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:55 PM   #9
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I think sexual satisfaction in your 50s (or any age really) probably comes from having let go of unrealistic expectations and the related pressure. If you are no longer hung up on how often, how long, how to impress, how you look, how to keep up to previous levels etc etc, you are just free to enjoy mutual pleasure.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by VintagePunk
Many people I know in that age group (30's - 40's) are so exhausted by their careers, children, home, and family, that sex does not come very high on their list of priorities. Further (and I'm speaking mainly for females here, I've not had this conversation with many men ) I find it hard to buy that aging into the 30's and 40s would have a negative impact on sexuality. Most women that I know of in that age group would tell you that they've become very comfortable with themselves, cognitively, emotionally, and physically, to a much larger degree than they were in their teens or 20's, but that's just a personal observation.
Well we've got three young kids and careers, and if I may say so we still keep sexual satisfaction pretty high on our priority list. Having kids in particular does tend to drive down the frequency, there's no two ways about that, but frequency and satisfaction are not the same thing.

As far as what women friends say, I guess mine must be a more jaded lot than yours, because while it's true that they generally report feeling increasingly less preoccupied with their looks and "flirtability" and seem to welcome that, nonetheless this "freedom" often seems to me more than a little tinged with an attitude of weary resignation, rather than more positive feelings of newfound self-worth. Same with male friends really, though the effect is less pronounced and they're generally more hopeful about their continued desirability.
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As for men in their 50's, social psychology/stages of life research has shown that men of this age group tend to mellow, become less aggressive and concerned with careers, and become more loving, nurturing, and relationship-oriented. The converse is true for women, however. After years of nurturing and being placed in the role of the caregiver, they tend to become more assertive and self-oriented. Perhaps this tendency for men and women to essentially swap traits to a certain degree during this stage of their lives lends itself to a more satisfying sexual experience.
This is a good point. I wonder, though, if there isn't an underlying similarity here in that both transitions involve coming to terms with the reality that you're never going to live up to all the gender role expectations you once aspired to, and are in fact only stunting yourself by doing so. Like AliEnvy said basically.

Are you in the mental health field, VintagePunk? You seem to be quite conversant with that literature.
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Originally posted by Irvine511
two decades of disappointment head
Nice Freudian slip there chum.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
I think sexual satisfaction in your 50s (or any age really) probably comes from having let go of unrealistic expectations and the related pressure. If you are no longer hung up on how often, how long, how to impress, how you look, how to keep up to previous levels etc etc, you are just free to enjoy mutual pleasure.
That is an interesting point. I wonder what factors contribute to unrealistic expectations?
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:20 PM   #12
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Originally posted by yolland

Nice Freudian slip there chum.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:04 PM   #13
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I could say something here about how I prefer older men........








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Old 02-21-2006, 04:04 PM   #14
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Originally posted by yolland
Nice Freudian slip there chum.


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Old 02-21-2006, 06:23 PM   #15
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well dang it all.....

My poor wife....

If these are our off years...30's....

and I put her in the hospital withe vertigo....

What will the next couple of decades bring
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