Declines in sexual activity and function predict incident health problems in older adults: prospective findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Jackson, Sarah E. and Yang, Lin and Koyanagi, Ai and Stubbs, Brendon and Smith, Lee (2019) Declines in sexual activity and function predict incident health problems in older adults: prospective findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Archives of Sexual Behavior. ISSN 1573-2800

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1443-4

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between declines in sexual activity and function and health outcomes in a large population-based sample of older adults. Data were from 2577 men and 3195 women aged ≥ 50 years participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Past-year changes in sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, and ability to have an erection (men)/become sexually aroused (women) were assessed at baseline by self-completion questionnaire. Health outcomes (self-rated health, limiting long-standing illness, doctor-diagnosed diseases of the vascular system, and cancer) were self-reported at baseline (2012/2013) and 4-year follow-up (2016/2017). Data were analyzed using logistic regression, adjusted for sociodemographics, health behaviors, and depressive symptoms. Prospectively, men who reported a decline in sexual desire had higher odds of incident limiting long-standing illness (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.04–1.91) and incident cancer (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.06–2.50) than those who maintained their sexual desire. Men who reported a decline in the frequency of sexual activities had higher odds of deterioration in self-rated health (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.04–2.08) and incident limiting long-standing illness (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.20–2.37). In women, a decline in frequency of sexual activities was associated with deterioration of self-rated health (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.07–2.51). Erectile dysfunction was longitudinally associated with poorer health outcomes including incident cancer (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.11–2.70), coronary heart disease (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.29–4.07), and fair/poor self-rated health (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.19–2.32). Practitioners should be mindful that a decline in sexual activity, desire, or function in older age may be an important indicator of future adverse health outcomes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sexual function, Sexual activity, Erectile dysfunction, Older adults, Health outcomes
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lee Smith
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 10:08
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 16:07
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704137

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