London: Sexual activity among older adults is fuelled largely by male appetite - women are less likely to be active if their partners do not experience much desire and more likely if their partners do, new research has highlighted.
"In other words, our studies suggest that women's desire is not decisive for how active they are," said Nils Beckman from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
"One reason may be the gender roles that these generations grew up with, which dictate that men always take the initiative," Beckman said in his doctoral thesis.
The study examined the sexual attitudes of senior citizens and identified the factors that determine whether or not they remain sexually active.
Childhood experiences have a major impact on the sexuality of senior citizens, the study said.
A history of childhood poverty, parental squabbling or divorce, and corporal punishment may reduce sexual desire and activity even in middle age, the findings of the research that monitored women from middle age to 70 years, showed.
However, the research based on data from the large H70 and women's population studies also found that senior citizens in Sweden have experienced a considerable improvement in their sex lives since the 1970s.
Sexual activity among 70-year-olds has increased from 12 percent to 34 percent for women and from 47 percent to 66 percent for men since the 1970s.
The quality of sex lives of senior citizens has improved as well. A total of 62 percent of women and 71 percent of men reported being highly satisfied with their sex lives as opposed to 41 percent of women and 58 percent of men in the 1970s.
"A general sense of well being, comfortable circumstances, good physical condition and vibrant mental health all contribute to sexual satisfaction," Beckman added.