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Gender equality leads to better sex lives among people 40 and over

Older couples who live in Western countries and who enjoy more equality between men and women are most likely to report being satisfied with their sex lives, according to a new study on sexual well-being, aging and health that was conducted in 29 countries by a University of Chicago research team.

In contrast, older people reported less satisfaction with the physical and emotional quality of their sex lives in countries where men have a dominant status over women, such as nations in East Asia, and to a lesser extent, the Middle East, according to the results of the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

The study involved surveying about 27,500 people between the ages of 40 and 80, including equal numbers of men and women. The study is the first of its kind to document and compare sexual behavior and related satisfaction among middle-aged and older people worldwide. Across most of the countries surveyed, substantial majorities of people with partners remain sexually active throughout the second half of their lives.

The study found that people reported the greatest sexual satisfaction in four countries, led by Austria, and followed by the United States, Spain and Canada. At the low end of satisfaction were Japan and Taiwan. Countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Algeria were in the middle.

An article on the survey, titled "A Cross-National Study of Subjective Sexual Well-Being Among Older Women and Men: Findings from the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors," is published in the April issue of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

In relationships based on equality, couples tend to develop sexual habits that are more in keeping with both partners' interests, said lead author, Edward Laumann, the George Herbert Meade Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago. "Male-centered cultures where sexual behavior is more oriented toward procreation tend to discount the importance of s
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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
19-Apr-2006


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