A study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that couples who celebrate a “golden anniversary” (half a century of marriage) actually experience an increase in sex.
Why would sex frequency increase?
There are several possible reasons that couples married for 50 years may see a slight increase in sexual frequency.
- They fight less. One of the study’s authors, Samuel Stroope, theorizes that couples who have been married for so long tend to fight less. “As people age, they tend to be more even-keeled, which may help cut down on marital conflict,” says Stroope, “and facilitate regular sexual activity into advanced age.”
- They trust each other more. Long-lasting couples—especially those still on their first marriage—are likely more trusting of each other. As Stroope points out, “You may have a higher level of trust when you feel that your spouse isn’t going to go anywhere,” he says. “The expectation that the relationship will continue may give you more reason to invest in the relationship—including in sexual aspects of the relationship.”
This may also explain why the study found that the increase in frequency doesn’t apply to couples who remarry.
- Advances in medicine. Advances in medicine, including erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, make sex possible for older men who might otherwise not be able to obtain or maintain an erection.
In addition to erectile dysfunction drugs, there are new medicines and treatments for other conditions and issues that tend to increase with age, such as incontinence, arthritis, prostate cancer, low testosterone and low sex drive in women.
There is, of course, a big limitation to the study, as not very many couples make it to 50 years of marriage. That makes it hard to find a large sample of data.