Prospective associations between alcohol use, binge drinking and sexual activity in older adults: The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Grabovac, Igor and Koyanagi, Ai and Yang, Lin and López Sánchez, Guillermo F. and McDermott, Daragh T. and Soysal, Pinar and Isik, Ahmet T. and Veronese, Nicola and Smith, Lee (2019) Prospective associations between alcohol use, binge drinking and sexual activity in older adults: The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Psychology and Sexuality. ISSN 1941-9902

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The present study aimed to investigate associations between alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, and sexual activity. Data were from 1,622 men and 2,195 women aged ≥50 years participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Multivariable logistic regression was used to prospectively assess sex-specific associations between baseline frequency of alcohol use in the last year or binge drinking in the last week (self-reported in 2004/05) and sexual activity at 8-year follow-up (2012/13). Covariates included partner status, age, ethnicity, wealth, limiting long-standing illness, smoking status, physical activity, and depressive symptoms. After adjustment, regular alcohol consumption in the last year at baseline was associated with 111% higher odds (95% CI 1.36-3.27) of any past-year sexual activity at follow-up in men and 76% higher odds (95% CI 1.26-2.46) in women, while frequent alcohol consumption was associated with 175% higher odds (95% CI 1.75-4.32) of sexual activity in men and 100% higher odds (95% CI 1.38-2.89) in women, relative to drinking alcohol never or rarely. Binge drinking was also positively associated with sexual activity at follow-up after adjustment for covariates, with odds of being sexually active at follow-up 52% higher (95% CI 1.07-2.15) among men who reported binge drinking at baseline and 57% higher (95% CI 1.11-2.23) among female binge drinkers. These results suggest that regular, frequent or binge drinking may protect against a decline in sexual activity as people grow old. While this does not outweigh the health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, health practitioners should consider the association between alcohol use and sexual activity when screening older adults for alcohol use and when encouraging older adults to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Alcohol, binge drinking, sexuality, sexual activity
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 11:34
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:54

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