Study: Healthy Sex Life Helps Couples Offset Stress of Aging

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Growing older is a difficult process, but a healthy sex life helps — at least, that’s what scientists from the University of Chicago say. This week, NPR reported on new research recently released by sociologists; the study highlighted evidence that couples can offset the stresses of illness and aging through more physical intimacy.

Though it is harder for some to maintain a healthy sex life as they age, scientists at the University of Chicago claim that couples who continue to be sexually active report higher levels of satisfaction in their marriages, which can help combat stress and the psychological effects of aging.

The researchers completed their study last month and found that there doesn’t have to be a dramatic increase in sexual activity for people to reap the psychological benefits of sex and experience an increase in marital quality. According to NPR, to determine the relationship between sex, marital happiness, and health, sociologists Adena Galinksky and Linda Waite analyzed data from nearly 500 couples between 58 and 85, most of whom had been married at least 40 years.

The sociologists found that, according to those surveyed, going from no sexual activity in a year to sex once each month was associated with an increase in marital quality. They wrote in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B last month, “To protect marital quality in later life, it may be important for older adults to find ways to stay engaged in sexual activity, even as health problem render familiar forms of sexual interaction difficult or important.”

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