Sex after 50: Less frequent but satisfying, survey finds

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By By Joan Raymond

Turning 50 doesn't mean all the fun in bed has to end —even if it doesn't happen quite as often. All week TODAY is celebrating the major milestone this week, with "This is 50," a candid look at life, love and health in midlife. 

According to TODAY's "This is 50" survey, just over a third of people in their 50s say they have sex a few times a week or month. That's compared to 43 percent of 40-somethings who report having sex once a week.

As part of the series, TODAY met with five married couples in New York to find out how their experiences match the survey findings. Nearly all reported to Hoda Kotb that their sex life is good. 

"I would have to to say [it's] better," David Ricks, one of the participants, told TODAY. 

And nearly one-quarter of the 50-59 group aren’t having sex at all, compared to 17 percent of those 40 to 49 years of age.

It’s not that they don’t want to have sex, in fact, more than half of men and women ages 50 to 59 who were surveyed wished they were having more sex. The biggest reason they're not getting busy in the bedroom? They're partner doesn't want to or can't.

"When we talk about sex over 50, you have to appreciate the fact that your bodies are not always going to cooperate," gynecologist Dr. Lauren Streicher, assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University's medical school, told TODAY Wednesday. "But you can still be sexual and physical and intimate. Even if things are not cooperating physically, it's all going to continue to be good." 

But of the sex they are having, 45 percent say they are quite satisfied with their sex lives. Remember, with age comes wisdom and balance, according to TODAY survey results. 

Sex drive does play into it, with about 1 in 5 of participants saying they just don't have the urge.

And some things never change: both men and women blame their partners for the lack of frequency in the bedroom (actually, women blame their partners slightly more than men). Health and a diminished sex drive are the reasons most men give for not having sex, while women say their partner doesn’t want to or simply can’t have sex. 

For the survey, TODAY conducted online interviews from July 21-23, 2014 among a sample of 1,470 online adults ages 45-69.

(You can find more about the methodology of the TODAY "This is 50" survey here.)