The secret of a happy retirement – lots of sex

What's the secret to a contented retirement? One answer, according to a new study, is regular sex. The more often married over-65s have sex the more likely they are to be happy with their lives, researchers found.

The survey of 238 men and women, presented yesterday at the Gerontological Society of America, found 60 per cent of those who had regular sex said they were very happy compared with 40 per cent for whom it was a distant memory.

When it came to their marriages, 80 per cent of those who had regular sex said they were very happy compared with 59 per cent of those who did not.

Adrienne Jackson, from Florida University, said the findings should "spark interest" in helping older people deal with "resolvable issues" which prevent them having sex.

Previous research shows the main factor that limits sexual activity is a man's health, not a woman's. Many illnesses, such as diabetes and prostate cancer, affect a man's capacity to have and maintain an erection.

But therapists warn about the danger of raising expectations so people feel there is something wrong if they are not having sex. There isn't.

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