If you're worried about the fiery passion between you and your significant other flickering out with time, well, unfortunately, your concerns are valid. The honeymoon phase doesn't last forever. But eventually, after that mid-marriage trough, the flame will most likely return.
A recent study published the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that sex still happens in marriage — especially if you make it past your 50th anniversary.
By analyzing interviews with 1,656 married American adults ages 57 to 85, researchers found, rather obviously, that those who had been married for a while had sex less frequently than when they had been newlyweds, their libido worn down by the wear and tear of life.
But then they found something they certainly didn't expect: Despite the steady declines in sexual activity amongst long-married couples, those who stayed together past their 50th anniversary began to report an improvement (albeit modest) in their sex lives.
Researchers concluded, to their surprise, that an individual married for 50 years will have somewhat less sex than an individual married for 65 years — even when the authors accounted for factors such as age, health, race, gender, employment, and relationship satisfaction.
"Additionally, the study used a snapshot in time — and therefore cannot prove that length and order of marriage caused sexual frequency," said lead author Samuel Stroope in a news release from Baylor University.
Why is there a newfound interest in sex after 50 or more years together? Stroope said that "it may be that the permanency of the relationship contributes to sexual relations picking up a bit at the end."
"Growing old as a couple, with the experience and knowledge that come with that, may play a part. You are able to learn about your partner and build on that over time. 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."
Keep in mind, however, that there are some limitations to the study. For example, the findings do not include partners who lived together without being married, nor gay and lesbian couples. Plus, researchers only focused on the frequency of sexual contact, not the quality of that contact (i.e. how often orgasm occurs).
So, basically, as people move into old age, they realize they don't have as many friends or as much time left. They'll look around for comfort and who do they see? Their life partner.
My grandfather, I'm sure, would agree with this wholeheartedly, as he always says that he only has eyes for my grandmother. And he never stops checking her out.
(h/t The New York Times)