Patel, D., Gillespie, B. & Foxman, B. (2003). Sexual Behavior of Older Women: Results of a Random-Digit-Dialing Survey of 2000 Women in the United States. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 30, 216-220

Article excerpt

Most national surveys of sexual behaviour conducted in the Western world have not included people 60 years of age or older. Consequently, our knowledge of the sexual behaviour of older people, particularly older women, is sparse. (Large-scale studies of erectile dysfunction have yielded some data on the sexual behaviour of older men.) As part of a random-digit-dialling telephone survey of female sexual behaviour in the United States, conducted in 1996, Patel, Gillespie, and Foxman collected data on sexual behaviour from 443 women aged 60 to 94.

There were large differences in partnered sexual activity between married and nonmarried women in the 60 to 94 age group. (The survey did not collect data on masturbation.) About 34% of married women and 4% of nonmarried women in this age group reported engaging in sexual activity (vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex) in the previous 3 months. "Older women were less likely to engage in oral intercourse in combination with vaginal intercourse and tended to engage solely in vaginal intercourse" (p. 218). When the data was stratified into more specific age groups, a progressive decline in sexual activity by age was observed. Among women aged 60-69, 42% of married women and 7% of nonmarried women reported any sexual activity in the previous 3 months. …