(HealthDay News) — Most older adults agree that sex is an important part of a romantic relationship at any age, according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Preeti Malani, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed a randomly selected group of 1002 older adults aged 65 to 80 years about their perspectives on relationships and sex and their sexual health experiences. Seventy-five percent completed the survey.

According to the report, 72% of older adults were married, partnered, or in a relationship. Seventy-six percent of participants agreed that sex is an important part of a romantic relationship at any age, with men more likely than women to agree (84 vs 69%). Forty percent indicated that they were currently sexually active; sexual activity decreased with age. More than half (54%) of respondents agreed that sex is important to their overall quality of life, with men more likely to agree than women (70 vs 40%). In the past 2 years, 17% had spoken to their health care provider about their sexual health; 60% of these had initiated the conversation themselves. Sixty-two percent of respondents reported that they would talk with their health care provider if they had a problem with their sexual health.

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“Sexual health among older adults doesn’t get much attention but is linked closely to quality of life, health, and well-being,” Erica Solway, PhD, MPH, co-associate director of the poll, said in a statement.

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Solway E, Clark S, Singer D, Kirch M, Malani P. Let’s Talk about Sex, National Poll on Healthy Aging, Institute for Healthcare Policy an Innovation, University of Michigan and Innovation. May 2018. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/143212