• Sexual Behavior;
  • Sexual Partners;
  • Sexual Development;
  • Aged;
  • Aging


Introduction.  The Spanish National Sexual Health Survey (SNSHS) is designed to examine sexual activity, sexual behaviors, and sexual health among the Spanish population.

Aim.  To describe sexual activity and behaviors of Spaniards aged ≥65 years old focusing on gender differences.

Methods.  A population-based descriptive study was conducted using individual data from the SNSHS. The number of subjects aged ≥65 years included was 1,939 (1,118 women, 821 men).

Main Outcome Measures.  Sexual activity, frequency, sexual behaviors, sexual practices, and reasons for lack of sexual activity were assessed from questions included in the survey. Subjects who reported having any sexual practice including giving or receiving kissing and hugging, vaginal intercourse, oral sex, or masturbation, with at least one partner in the previous 12 months were considered as sexually active. We analyzed sociodemographic characteristics, self-rated physical and sexual health, comorbid conditions, and medications using multivariate logistic regression models.

Results.  Overall, 62.3% of men and 37.4% of elderly women were sexually active (P < 0.01). The prevalence of sexual inactivity significantly increased with age (P < 0.01, odds ratio [OR] 5.8, 95% confidence interval 3.8–9.05 men; 6.37, 3.9–10.4 women). Not having a partner was a predictor of sexual inactivity (OR 5.79, 3.98–8.42 men; OR 12.0, 8.4–17.2 women). Worse self-rated sexual health, suffering ≥2 comorbid conditions, and taking ≥2 medications were associated with higher probability of reporting no sexual activity in both men and women. The most common sexual practices were kissing, hugging, and vaginal intercourse. The most common reasons for sexual inactivity were: partner was physically ill (23%), lack of interest (21%), and the man was a widower (23%).

Conclusions.  This study provided data on sexual activity in older Spanish adults and has identified potential factors that appear to influence sexuality in the elderly with some gender differences. Current results can have implications for healthcare providers for addressing these concerns in an effective manner. Palacios-Ceña D, Carrasco-Garrido P, Hernández-Barrera V, Alonso-Blanco C, Jiménez-García R, and Fernández-de-las-Peñas C. Sexual behaviors among older adults in Spain: Results from a population-based national sexual health survey. J Sex Med 2012;9:121–129.