An active sex life during old age could be the key to maintaining and preserving a youthful look.

The finding, carried out by the British psychologist "Dr David Weeks", was presented to the British Psychological Society.

With the number of 70 year olds having an active sex life increasing significantly over the past decade 'what does it mean for their health?'

After examining the effects of having regular sex at old age, Dr Weeks was able to answer that question and concluded that an active sex life is essential for preserving youth.

He said that the key to looking younger is being active and having a good sex life, and that society should have a more favorable perspective of sexual activity among the elderly.

Why is sex good for you?

  • Having sex makes people happy, which is essential for a mental and emotional health balance. In fact, abstinence from sex has been known to cause anxiety and depression.
  • Sex on a regular basis can increase a person's lifespan. A study conducted at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, revealed that people who had an active sex life lived longer than those who didn't.
  • Sex releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers
  • Sex can reduce cholesterol levels
  • Sex can brighten the skin and reduce a person's risk of dermatitis.

Seniors benefit from sex

Dr Weeks said that when people contemplate aging their thinking is driven with "negative stereotypes and ageist myths - those who are most prejudiced against older people know them the least. Misconceptions of this kind generate irrational prohibitive feelings, making sexual experiences less enjoyable for both partners within a relationship."

Yet, people should understand that "the quality of sexual expression is a predictor of good general health and well-being". In 1997, a heart disease study carried out in Wales found that "the mortality risk was 50 per cent lower in the group of men with high orgasmic frequency (twice a week or more) than in the group with low frequency."

Sexuality should not be exclusively associated with younger people. Sexual satisfaction is a crucial contributor to quality of life - ranking as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other moral factors.

Elderly couples with active sex lives tend to be happier, researchers at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University reported in 2011 at the Gerontological Society of America's (GSA) 64th Annual Scientific Meeting, Boston.

Written by Joseph Nordqvist