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The Sunday Read: ‘The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70’

Today, Maggie Jones explores the overlooked topic of geriatric intercourse. Profiling older couples for whom sex is still important, she considers the obstacles and joys of having intercourse over the age of 70, and the way society has begun to talk more openly about it in recent years.

As bodies change, Jones writes, good sex in old age often requires reimagining and expanding: a conscious inclusion of more touching, kissing, erotic massage, oral sex and sex toys. Along with pleasure, other benefits are linked to sex: a stronger immune system, improved cognitive function, cardiovascular health in women and lower odds of prostate cancer, along with improved sleep, stress reduction and a cultivation of emotional intimacy.

The subset of older people who are having lots of sex well into their 80s could help shape those conversations and policies, while doctors can also do their part by attending to individuals’ physiological impediments to sex. Many sex experts expect more open conversations and policies related to their senior sex lives in the years to come.

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Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Pérez, Marion Lozano, Naomi Noury, Krish Seenivasan, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.

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