January 1990

Sexual Function in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

From the William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich (Dr Diokno); and Departments of Surgery-Urology (Dr Diokno), Biostatistics (Dr Brown), and Institute of Gerontology and Institute for Social Research (Dr Herzog), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(1):197-200. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390130161026

• Little is known about sexual behavior among the elderly living in the community. Questions about sexual activity and its correlates were included in a clinic examination whose participants were identified by a household survey of a probability of Washtenaw County, Michigan, elderly, aged 60 years and over, on the medical, epidemiological, and social aspects of aging. Estimates of proportions based on responses at the clinic examination were also projected to the demographics of the household survey. The estimated proportions of individuals who are sexually active are 73.8% for married men and 55.8% for married women; among unmarried men and women the proportions are 31.1% and 5.3%, respectively. The levels decrease significantly with age in both genders. The estimated proportion of married men with erectile impotence is 35.3%. Significant associations were observed between having problems with mobility and the lack of sexual activity in both genders. The prevalence of impotency was significantly associated with a history of heart attack, urinary Incontinence, and the use of sedatives. The consumption of at least one cup of coffee per day was significantly associated with a higher prevalence of sexual activity in women and with a higher potency rate in men.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:197-200)