Age and Sexuality: Stunning Shifts in Companions as We Develop Older


Abstract: A collaborative examine reveals how sexual conduct adjustments with age. Surveying over 5,000 individuals throughout the 2022 mpox outbreak, the examine confirmed that homosexual and bisexual males over 70 proceed to have a number of companions, whereas heterosexual ladies’s exercise tends to lower after age 50.

The examine challenges current assumptions utilized in mathematical fashions of sexually transmitted infections. Researchers emphasised the nuanced influence of age and sexuality on sexual exercise.

Key Information:

  1. Whereas most respondents of all age teams had zero or one latest sexual accomplice, round 65% of heterosexual ladies persistently reported one accomplice up till age 50, after which there was a notable decline.
  2. Accomplice concurrency, or having multiple latest intercourse accomplice, was unusual within the basic inhabitants however frequent amongst social media samples. Particularly, 42% of MSMs from Fb/Instagram and 52% from Grindr reported a minimum of two latest male companions.
  3. Regardless of age, 45% of males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM) sustained accomplice concurrency from age 27 to 63, significantly these recruited through social media platforms.

Supply: College of East Anglia

A brand new examine revealed as we speak exhibits the variety of sexual companions now we have adjustments as we age – and there are some stunning outcomes. 

Researchers from the College of East Anglia (UEA), in collaboration with King’s Faculty London and College Faculty London, surveyed greater than 5,000 folks aged 18 years and older throughout the 2022 mpox (beforehand generally known as “monkeypox”) outbreak.  

This shows an older couple.
Solely two per cent of straight folks over 70 reported a number of companions. Credit score: Neuroscience Information

The workforce needed to higher perceive how sexual behaviours change with age, in order that mathematical fashions of sexually transmitted infections will be made extra correct.

Key findings included within the paper, revealed as we speak within the journal PLOS ONE, present that many homosexual and bisexual males over age 70 proceed to have a intercourse life with a number of companions, whereas straight ladies change into much less sexually lively after age 50. 

Lead researcher Dr Julii Brainard, from UEA’s Norwich Medical Faculty, stated: “Earlier than this examine, many fashions about sexually transmitted illnesses assumed that everybody over a sure age – say 40 or 65 – stopped being sexually lively, or a minimum of stopped having a number of companions.   

“Or there is likely to be an assumption that younger folks have essentially the most intercourse. However the reply is extra nuanced, and it partly will depend on folks’s sexuality.” 

The examine relies on a survey of 5164 British folks, together with 3297 sampled from the overall inhabitants and 1036 males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM) recruited through Fb and Instagram. An extra 831 folks responded to adverts on the homosexual relationship app Grindr.  

“The 2022 mpox instances unfold principally amongst males who’ve intercourse with males, so we significantly surveyed this group,” defined Dr Brainard. 

The individuals had been requested for his or her gender, sexual identification (homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual) and what number of sexual companions that they had had within the final three weeks and within the final three months. The solutions had been divided into the three largest teams that every had greater than a thousand responses: ladies who’ve intercourse with males, males who’ve intercourse with ladies, and males who’ve intercourse with males. 

The workforce targeted on the connection between intercourse accomplice counts in final three weeks and respondent age, utilizing statistical fashions to see how a lot an individual’s age was linked to their latest accomplice depend. 

Key findings: 

•    Most individuals surveyed had both zero or one sexual accomplice at any age within the previous three weeks. 

•    About 65 % of heterosexual ladies reported having one accomplice within the final three weeks persistently till they had been 50 – after which there was a steep climb in reporting no companions. 79 % of ladies age 70+ who recognized as heterosexual or had any male companions in final 3 months, had had no male companions within the final three weeks.

•    Of the heterosexual males surveyed (all age teams), 50 % reported having one accomplice within the final three weeks. However they had been more and more more likely to report no companions as they bought older. 50 % of males age 70+ who had been heterosexual or had had intercourse with any ladies in final three months, didn’t have a feminine accomplice in the newest three weeks, in comparison with simply 44 % of males having heterosexual intercourse who had no latest feminine companions when age below 70.  

•    Accomplice concurrency – which is multiple latest intercourse accomplice – was unusual within the basic inhabitants, however widespread among the many social media samples. 42 % of MSMs recruited on Fb or Instagram and 52 % of Grindr respondents had a minimum of two latest male companions.  

•    Accomplice concurrency declined amongst older folks, with least decline amongst social media respondents. Seventy-seven males who’ve intercourse with males, age 70+, answered the survey. 17 % of them reported multiple latest accomplice in the newest three weeks. 25 % of the MSM age 70+ recruited through social media had concurrent companions. 

•    Solely two % of straight folks over 70 reported a number of companions. 

Dr Brainard stated: “Most individuals in our survey, no matter their gender identification or sexuality, had zero or one latest accomplice at any age.   

“We managed to gather loads of information from MSM who practiced accomplice concurrency. About 45 % of them sustained accomplice concurrency from age 27 to 63. Even at age 65+ the respondents recruited through social media nonetheless tended to have extra sexual contact than the overall inhabitants pattern on the similar age.    

“It could be fascinating to see if these findings had been replicated if we focused heterosexuals most probably to observe accomplice concurrency. 

“Fashions of illness unfold shouldn’t assume that younger persons are essentially most in danger or that having a number of companions simply stops occurring at a strict age threshold.” 

The details about age profiles and sexual habits is helpful as a result of it helps to tailor protected intercourse messages on the proper demographics and utilizing media channels that finest reaches these subgroups. 
Analysis Fellow Dr Louise Smith at Kings Faculty London coordinated the survey in autumn 2022 to gather details about public consciousness of mpox and what public well being messages is likely to be most motivating for various sub-groups. 

Dr Smith stated: “This examine underscores the significance of contemplating how information had been collected. For example, we will’t conclude from this survey that MSM who use social media are significantly more likely to have concurrent companions. However it could be that the algorithms that Fb or Instagram use to establish MSMs are additionally excellent at discovering that subset of individuals. 

“On the time, mpox principally affected homosexual and bisexual males so we targeted recruitment on this group. As a result of we didn’t recruit very many lesbian and bisexual ladies, or members of the trans neighborhood, our statistical analyses would have been much less dependable for these teams.  

“Additional analysis into different minority sexualities and gender identities may very well be helpful to higher perceive the granularity of sexual behaviour and optimum public well being messaging suited to totally different teams of individuals within the UK.” 

Funding: This work was funded by the Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Analysis. 

About this growing old and sexuality analysis information

Creator: Laura Potts
Supply: College of East Anglia
Contact: Laura Potts – College of East Anglia
Picture: The picture is credited to Neuroscience Information

Unique Analysis: Open entry.
The connection between age and intercourse accomplice counts throughout the mpox outbreak within the UK, 2022” by Julii Brainard et al. PLOS ONE


The connection between age and intercourse accomplice counts throughout the mpox outbreak within the UK, 2022


Understanding the dynamics of an infectious illness outbreak linked to sexual exercise requires legitimate expectations of seemingly counts of distinctive intercourse companions throughout the infectious interval. Sometimes, age is the important thing demographic trait linked to anticipated accomplice depend, with many transmission fashions eradicating adults from the sexually lively pool abruptly at a pre-specified age threshold. Modelling the speed of decline in accomplice counts with age would profit from a greater description of empirical proof.


Throughout the 2022 mpox epidemic within the UK, we requested people about their accomplice counts within the previous three weeks, which is about the identical as ordinary infectious interval for individuals with lively mpox. We used unfavourable binomial regression (all responses) and Weibull regression (non-zero responses) to analyse the connection between age and accomplice counts, adjusted for different demographic information (comparable to training stage and occupation), sub-dividing by three varieties of respondent: males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM), males who’ve intercourse with ladies, and girls who’ve intercourse with males.


Most respondents had zero or one latest accomplice, all distributions had been skewed. There was a comparatively linear declining relationship between age and accomplice counts for heterosexual partnership teams, however a peak in accomplice counts and concurrency for MSMs in center age years (age 35–54), particularly for MSM who appeared to be in a extremely sexually lively subgroup.


Helpful information had been collected that can be utilized to explain intercourse accomplice counts throughout the British mpox epidemic and that present distinctive accomplice depend relationships with age, depending on partnership kind.


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