A recent study has found that gay and bisexual men over 70 still have active sex lives with multiple partners.
The study was conducted in 2022 by the University of East Anglia (UEA), in collaboration with King’s College London and University College London.
They surveyed 5,164 people including 1,036 men who have sex with men (MSM) who were recruited via social media.
People were asked how many sexual partners they had in the most recent three weeks as well as three months. They were also asked for their gender and sexual identity.
Seventy-seven MSM over 70 answered the survey. 17% reported having more than one recent sexual partner in the most recent three weeks.
25% of the MSM over 70 had multiple partners or “concurrent partners.”
42% of MSMs recruited on Facebook or Instagram and 52% of people found via Grindr had at least two recent male partners.
Comparatively, only 2% of straight people over 70 reported multiple partners.
The study also reported that 65% of heterosexual women reported having one partner in the last three weeks consistently until they were 50. After this, there was a “steep climb in reporting no partners.”
79% of heterosexual women and women who had male partners who were over 70 and had male partners in the last 3 months, had had no male partners in the last three weeks.
50% of all heterosexual men surveyed had one partner in the most recent three weeks. The survey results showed straight men were more likely to have no partners as they aged.
Also, 50% of straight men over 70 didn’t have a female partner in the most recent three weeks.
44% of straight men under 70 had no recent female partners.
“There might be an assumption that young people have the most sex”
The results indicate that a change is needed societally, as well as when it comes to medically.
Part of the reason for the survey was to make data about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) more accurate.
Dr Julii Brainard, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School and the lead researcher, stated as much.
“Before this study, many models about sexually transmitted diseases assumed that everyone over a certain age – say 40 or 65 – stopped being sexually active, or at least stopped having multiple partners.”
“Or there might be an assumption that young people have the most sex. But the answer is more nuanced, and it partly depends on people’s sexuality.”
Brainard also added: “Models of disease spread shouldn’t assume that young people are necessarily most at risk or that having multiple partners just stops happening at a strict age threshold.”
Researchers have also called for more work to draw a better picture when it comes to statistics on STIs. This is because the study didn’t recruit many lesbians, bisexual women, or trans people.