Your parents are probably having more exciting sex than you.
For the first time in Canada, a new sexual health survey takes a peek at what’s going on between the sheets of 40 to 59-year-olds.
Sixty-three per cent of the 2,400 people surveyed say they’re more sexually adventurous than they were a decade ago.
“I think sexuality and aging in the media often sort of get the reputation that it’s all downhill from here, and that’s not at all what our findings suggest,” said Robin Milhausen. “Sexual pleasure doesn’t decrease with age.”
Milhausen is a sexuality and relationship researcher at the University of Guelph who helped lead the Trojan-funded survey in partnership with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN).
This demographic is particularly interesting to researchers because it was the first to grow up in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, explained SIECCAN executive director Alex McKay.
“That was where we saw society take a more liberal turn to sexuality and people grew up with the idea that sexuality was something to be enjoyed,” he said.
Aside from their more sex-positive mindset, McKay thinks their increased focus on fitness and health compared to previous generations, has made a big difference in the bedroom.
Some additional takeaways from the study:
1. Six-minute trick to sexual satisfaction
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What you do after sex — and for how long — may be the biggest predictor of how happy you are with it and your relationship, according to the experts.
More than 70 per cent of women who had post-coital cuddling following their most recent intercourse rated the experience “very pleasurable.” By contrast, only 44 per cent of women who fewer than five minutes of love after sex were pleased.
The research found six to 10 minutes of cuddling, kissing or pillow talk seems to be the sweet spot for sexual satisfaction.
It’s called the “six-minute rule.”
So stay awake and connect with your partner, Milhausen urges.
“If you think that the sexual encounter is just over the second someone has an orgasm, you’re missing an opportunity for building intimacy.”
2. Let’s talk about sex
People who tell their sexual partners what they like and dislike have better sex, the study found.
But half of those surveyed aren’t having that conversation.
Emotional satisfaction appears to be another big factor in sexual enjoyment.
“Married people are reporting sex as pleasurable as their single counterparts. In fact, married men reported more pleasure at their last sexual encounter than single men.”
The researchers believe that’s because long-term couples know what works on their partner better than people in casual encounters.
The latter have a greater likelihood of being more satisfied overall with their sex lives, though. Milhausen thinks this might be due to couples mistakenly equating quantity (which tends to decrease in longer-term unions) with quality.
The older age group still seems better off sexually than university students, McKay said, referring to his 2013 study.
“Having good sex isn’t about having a young, hard body,” he said. “Rather it’s about being comfortable with yourself, knowing how to communicate with your partner and knowing what you want out of your sex life.
“[Good sex] requires a bit of maturity, it requires a bit of experience with sexuality and relationships, and our mid-life sample has that experience whereas the university students don’t.”
3. Not-so-safe sex
Two-thirds of single men and almost three-quarters of single women in the survey admitted that they didn’t use a condom the last time they had sex.
More than half of those men, and a third of the women, had slept with two or more people in the last year.
“It was pretty alarming that a single, midlife Canadian at age 50 is far less likely to use a condom than a similarly sexually active university student,” he said.
Half of that population admitted to using a condom during their last sexual encounter.
He thinks young people may simply be more knowledgeable about STIs.
“We have a lot of work to do to bring single midlife Canadians up to speed.”
You can see more highlights from the survey below: