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New Study Finds Gay Men Over 70 Are Still Getting Busy

New Study Finds Gay Men Over 70 Are Still Getting Busy

Four older men jogging
Yuri A./Shutterstock

Straight men are being left in the dust while gay men have fun with multiple partners.

A new study shows that gay men have better sex lives even after they pass 70—who would have guessed?

The UK-based researchers conducting the study, published in PLOS ONE this week, were trying to determine how people’s sex lives change over the years in an attempt to model how a virus like mpox might spread.

While they assumed the number of sexual partners would decrease with age, the sex lives of older gay men upended that theory. Gay men were the main focus of the study because mpox was most commonly transmitted during gay sexual encounters.

“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,” lead researcher Dr Julii Brainard, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, told Queerty.

Brainard continued, “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.”

Turns out the number of people someone is having sex with correlates with their sexuality—basically, gay men are having more fun in their golden years than heterosexual men in that same age bracket. Poor straights!

The study shows that 17% of gay men age 70 and older had more than one partner in the preceding three weeks and this number rose to 25% in gay men in the same age cohort who were recruited from social media.

But while gay silver foxes are getting busy, only 2% of straight men aged 70+ reported having more than one sexual partner.

Sexual activity in heterosexual men declines significantly around age 50. A full 50% of straight men aged 70+ “didn’t have a female partner in the most recent three weeks.” This holds true for straight women in the same age bracket, three quarters of which had “no male partners in the last three weeks,” according to the study.

“We managed to collect a lot of data from MSM [men who have sex with men] who practiced partner concurrency. About 45 percent of them sustained partner concurrency from age 27 to 63. Even at age 65+ the respondents recruited via social media still tended to have more sexual contact than the general population sample at the same age,” Brainard said.

“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.”

The researchers quizzed 5,000 people, over 800 of whom were recruited from Grindr. They wanted to make sure to include a large number of men who have sex with men because that demographic made up the majority of mpox cases, so they also quizzed 1,000 gay men from Facebook and Instagram. The study didn’t include a large enough number of lesbians or trans people to draw conclusions about their sex lives.

Brainard noted the high percentages of gay men having multiple partners could be because they recruited a large number of men from social media. “It may be that the algorithms that Facebook or Instagram use to identify [gay and bisexual men] are also very good at finding that subset of people.”

But what we're taking away is that being gay is more fun!

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.