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Sexual Behaviors among Older Adults in Spain: Results from a Population-Based National Sexual Health Survey

Authors

  • Domingo Palacios-Ceña PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Science II, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
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  • Pilar Carrasco-Garrido PhD,

    1. Preventive Medicine and Public Health Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Health Sciences, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
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  • Valentín Hernández-Barrera MD,

    1. Preventive Medicine and Public Health Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Health Sciences, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
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  • Cristina Alonso-Blanco PT, PhD,

    1. Department of Health Science II, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
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  • Rodrigo Jiménez-García PhD,

    1. Preventive Medicine and Public Health Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Health Sciences, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
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  • César Fernández-de-las-Peñas PT, PhD

    1. Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain
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Domingo Palacios Ceña, PhD, Departamental II, Despacho 1017, Facultad Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Avenida de Atenas, s/n, Alcorcón 28922, Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34-91-488-89-34; Fax: +34-91-488-89-56; E-mail: domingo.palacios@urjc.es

ABSTRACT

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.

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