Long-married couples, if things have gotten a little dull in the bedroom over time, take heart. A new study says that after around 50 years of marriage, your sex life could pick up again thanks to a renewed sense of trust and commitment.
"Growing old as a couple, with the experience and knowledge that come with that, may play a part,” said researcher Samuel Stroope of Louisiana State University in a release.
For the study, researchers analyzed the sex lives of over 1,600 adults in their late-50s all the way to their mid-80s. They noticed a slight "rebound" in how often long-married couples were having sex once they had surpassed 50 years of marriage.
Researchers say that while new couples start off with vibrant sex lives, the frequency often diminishes over time, due to a number of factors. But the good news for long-married couples is that after all those years together, a sense of commitment, continuity and sense of permanency could be what leads to an uptick in sexual activity.
"You may have a higher level of trust when you feel that your spouse isn't going to go anywhere. The expectation that the relationship will continue may give you more reason to invest in the relationship -- including in sexual aspects of the relationship," Stroope said.
Another intriguing finding of the study was the frequency of sex in first marriages versus second marriages. Researchers found that people who stay in their first marriages instead of getting divorced and remarried, often have more sex. But that doesn't mean intimacy is lacking in second marriages. Remarried people can derive just as much pleasure and a strong emotional connection with less sex, they said.
Despite the myth that older people don't have much sex, studies have shown that many older adults have active sex lives. In fact, one 2011 study found that two-thirds of women in their 50s and beyond are satisfied with their love lives and another study showed that older couples who are sexually satisfied feel happier in their marriages.
The new study does have some limitations. The authors say that it can't necessarily prove causation since they are just looking at a snippet of time, but that it does point to a trend among older married couples.
Just a little something to look forward to in your marriage.