Many of our fellow midlifers didn't need to see the results of a new AP/LifeGoesStrong.com poll to know that things aren't sizzling in our bedrooms. A quarter (24 percent) of 45-65 year olds say that we are dissatisfied with our sex lives, according to the poll.
If that doesn't surprise you, then perhaps this will: The poll also revealed that people both younger and older than us are less dissatisfied with their lovemaking. Only 12 percent of 18-29 year olds say they are frustrated with their sex lives and just 17 percent of the 66-plus seniors crowd are unhappy.
For many 44- to 55-year-old men, bedroom difficulties lie in the fact that their spouses don't want to have sex as often as they do. Nearly half (48 percent) of these men claim that their "sex-pectations" are not being met, whereas just 28 percent of adult men under 45 have the same complaint.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, acclaimed sexual therapist, professor and author, who helped design the survey's questions and is guest blogging on LifeGoesStrong.com, reacted strongly to the poll's underlying message. "We worry so much about teens and sex, but this poll indicates a need for a call to action for this segment of the population to become more sexually literate," she said. "It is not necessary for a couple to be in exact sexual synch, but if a couple's appetites grow too far apart, then that indicates that there is not enough communication about sex in the relationship."
The poll numbers would indicate that we midlifers are anything but in synch sexually, especially for men and women ages 45 to 55. When it comes to how this group views the role of sex in a relationship, the survey found that 61 percent of men believe that sex is a critical part of a healthy relationship, while just 47 percent of women in the same age group say they feel the same.
Of note, the poll did show that among those of us age 56-65, majorities of both men (59 percent) and women (69 percent) believe that couples can have a strong relationship without sexual activity. This contrasts strongly with the under-45 crowd—63 percent of men and 62 percent of women in this age group say that sexual activity is an essential part of a solid romantic relationship.
Another surprising revelation in the poll concerned medical issues as they related to sex. Those 45-65 are more likely than seniors to discuss sexual matters with their doctors, though the poll suggests nearly three in 10 in both groups have had some problems with sexual functioning. And of those who have received treatment for sexual functioning problems, about three in 10 say they keep it a private matter between themselves and their doctors.
Again, Dr. Ruth Westheimer saw these results as a call to action. "Our bodies change as we get older, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing," she said. "What's critical is that we learn about those changes and work with our partners and medical professionals to overcome any obstacles we might face. If you can do that, you can be assured a happy and healthy sex life for years to come!"
For more information go to: http://surveys.ap.org/