Annals of Internal Medicine published an interesting articletoday on sexual activity in 75 to 95 year-old men. Using data from a large cohort study in Australia, the authors identified several interesting findings:
- While sexual activity decreases with advancing age, it is still common: approximately 40% of men age 75-79, 30% of men age 80-84, and 20% of men age 85-90 are sexually active
- Roughly half of participants reported that sex was at least somewhat important. Many stated that sex was moderately or very important
- Among men who were not sexually active, only 40% stated it was because of lack of interest. Reasons commonly cited for not being sexually active included lack of a partner, physical limitations of oneself or of the partner, and lack of interest by the partner.
- Several reversable risk factors were associated with lack of sexual activity, including use of beta blockers and antidepressants (thus the title of this post).
These findings should not be surprising – news flash, men like to have sex – but serve as a useful reminder to consider probing about this important quality of life issue. I recently revised my clinic note template to remind myself to intermittently ask patients for updates on key geriatric issues, for example falls, functional status, continence, etc – but to my chagrin I now realize that sexual function didn’t make the list. It may be time to change that template…
by: Mike Steinman