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Study examines sex, well being in seniors

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Sexuality among older U.S. adults tends to vary with age and gender, and men are more likely than women to have a partner, researchers say.

The supplemental issue of The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences contains 14 articles focused on demographic characteristics; social networks; social and cultural activity; physical and mental health, including cognition, well-being, illness, medications, and alternative therapies; history of sexual and intimate partnerships; and patient-physician communication.

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The articles are based on the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, an interdisciplinary effort to collect social data alongside biological indicators in a population-based sample of older adults.

The study collected 13 biomeasures, including the assessment of respondents' weight, waist circumference, height, blood pressure, distance vision, smell, touch, and mobility. Also collected were: blood spots, saliva, oral fluid for HIV testing and, from female respondents, a self-administered vaginal swab.

The findings on sexuality among older U.S. adults found men were more likely to be sexually active with a partner and tended to have more positive and permissive attitudes toward sex.

Men were more likely than women to report alcohol use, potential problem drinking and having ever smoked, but alcohol use and smoking were lower among older age groups.

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