Sex in the Fifties Check out the results of our sex and romance survey, and see how your own love life stacks up. How about oral sex? Ever had an affair? These probably aren't questions you'd relish answering, at least not in front of the kids. Luckily for us nosy types-and those who have a purely academic curiosity about the sordid details of other people's sex lives-AARP has released the official findings of its Sex, Romance, and Relationships Survey.
Using a random sample of 1, Americans ages 45 and older, it revealed exactly what older Americans do behind closed doors and plenty of other places , as well as their honest opinions about things you'd typically get punched, slapped, or arrested for asking. Following are some of the biggest revelations. Are they inspiring, comforting, or troubling? That depends on what's going on in your bedroom-and how your love life stacks up against the "norm.
If you're a woman in your 50s and you have sex at least once a week, 64 percent of your peers might be jealous. Baby, It's Cold Inside Wondering if you're the only person in the country whose sex life has taken a dive even though you're healthy, hardy, and still highly interested in your partner? It seems that there's been an alarming drop in our nookie sessions.
Between and , the percentage of people in their 50s who say they have sex at least once a week took about a point plunge for both sexes women dropped from 43 to 32 percent, and men from 49 to 41 percent. The somethings aren't special; most other age groups saw a drop in their frequency of sex, too.
They're not happy about it. The survey found that only 43 percent of older Americans say they're satisfied with their sex lives down from 51 percent in , while the percentage who are dissatisfied with their sex lives increased. Get AARP member discounts on travel, shopping and more The chill isn't confined to the bedroom, sadly. The percentage of people who say they engage in affectionate acts like hugging, kissing, and caressing at least once a week also fell between and About half enjoy such simple nurturing activities at least weekly, although those with a regular partner are much more likely to report such frequency.
So, what caused the recent nosedive? We're certainly not more prudish. What's more, fewer survey respondents agree that "there's too much emphasis on sex today" than they did in though maybe Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl had us fed up back then. For one possible answer, check your wallet.
Research has long shown that money worries sap sex, and with the recent unemployment scourge, yo-yoing k s and rampaging foreclosures, there's been no shortage in worries. To put it mildly, financial stress is probably hitting midlifers below the belt. People complain of feeling distant, disconnected, and emotionally bound up. Healthy people with no financial worries and low stress levels and, of course, a partner handy have the most sex, and are most likely to say they have "extremely satisfying" sexual relationships.
Me, Myself, and I What hasn't taken a hit from the money woes? Among people in their 50s, about 42 percent of men and 15 percent of women say they indulge in self-stimulation "about once a week" or "more than once a week. They win for sheer frequency; 48 percent of singles with regular partners have sex at least once a week, compared to only 36 percent of married folks.
It's no surprise that 60 percent say they're satisfied with their sex lives, compared to 52 percent of their hitched peers and just 19 percent of the single-but-not-dating crowd. When it comes to a sizzling love life, finding a partner seems to trump marrying a spouse. More likely, it trumps living with someone who has stopped trying. They get functional about sex instead of seductive.
More options means she's never dateless, she points out. We all know that infidelity is a potent relationship-destroyer, an atom bomb that few unions withstand. Among all the survey respondents, 21 percent of men and 11 percent of women admit that they cheated during a current or recent long-term relationship. In pointing fingers, about 12 percent of both sexes say that their partner cheated on them-which hints that many ladies are too optimistic about their man's whereabouts at this very second.
Surprisingly few people say the cheating did irreparable harm to their relationship: Roughly 40 percent report that it had no effect at all, about 30 percent think it only caused temporary tension, and a mere 6 percent or less say it was the fatal blow. What's more, some report that infidelity made their relationship better. About 25 percent of cheaters say that it gave their relationship a boost in the sex department, and 11 percent of cheatees agree.
When another person enters the picture, the spouse who was inattentive can suddenly realize they have been part of the problem. So if both partners really want the relationship to last, they work harder at everything-including sex. People regard the infidelity as far more damaging to the relationship if they were, shall we say, the last to know. Nearly 60 percent of female cheaters say their stepping out had "no effect" on their relationship, and just 9 percent think made their sex lives worse.
Among women with cheating partners, however, only 24 percent say it had no effect on the relationship-and almost 40 percent say it made their sex lives worse. Perhaps some of these lucky "no effect" folks had struck a pragmatic arrangement; one survey respondent added, "We lived miles apart at the time and agreed to a 'don't ask don't tell' policy. Women were almost three times as likely as men to say that their partner's cheating caused a lasting tension and lack of trust. Men are either more forgiving or just harder up: Only 6 percent of male cheatees say their sex lives were worse after their partner's infidelity.
Hey, if she's back in your bed, why hold a grudge? Ironically, a wandering partner may be doing you a big favor. He met a certain mortgage broker while working out details of the divorce, and business quickly became pleasure.
Honestly, with my first wife, the sex was good for maybe the first week and then it was pretty much nonexistent. But Mary and I are still crazy about each other.
We can't believe how lucky we are. He hopes to have a second marriage like Joe's if he ever gets married a first time. People in this group were among the happiest in the survey. About 1 in 50 men in their 50s agree. They were almost four times more likely as men to rate their sexual relationship as "not pleasurable at all.