More sexual activity among over-75s
People aged 16 and over were asked the question whether they had had any sexual activity in the past twelve months. In 2022, the reply was ‘yes’ among 70 percent of the respondents. This means the share engaging in sexual activity was lower than in 2014 (74 percent), when this question was asked for the first time. The decline is mainly visible among young people (16 to 24 years): in 2014 the sexually active share in this group was still 63 percent, but this was down to 56 percent in 2022. On the other hand, the sexually active share increased among people aged 75 and over.
|Leeftijd||2022 (% of respondents who answered the question)||2014 (% of respondents who answered the question)|
|Total (16 yrs and over)||69.7||74.5|
|16 to 24 yrs||55.5||63.1|
|25 to 34 yrs||86.5||90.1|
|35 to 44 yrs||87.9||91.8|
|45 to 54 yrs||83.8||86.1|
|55 to 64 yrs||70.3||74.9|
|65 to 74 yrs||52.6||55.8|
|75 yrs and over||26.7||16.4|
Less sexually active after 55
The extent to which people are sexually active is linked, among other things, with age. In the group 16 to 24-year-olds, 56 percent are sexually active. People aged between 25 and 45 had the highest share at 87 percent. The share of people who are sexually active declines as of age 55; this decline was lowest among the over-75s at 27 percent.
Older men more often sexually active than older women
Men are slightly more likely to be sexually active than women, those aged 55 and over in particular. This gap increases with age and is widest among the over-75s: of the men aged 75 and over, 37 percent said they had been sexually active in the past twelve months, against 18 percent of their female peers. A contributing factor here is that older women are more likely to be single compared to older men. This is related to age differences in relationships (in which the man is often slightly older). In addition, a higher female life expectancy means that relatively more women than men reach a more advanced age.
|Leeftijd||Men (% of respondents who answered the question)||Women (% of respondents who answered the question)|
|Total (16 yrs and over)||72.4||67|
|16 to 24 yrs||53.9||57.2|
|25 to 34 yrs||85.6||87.5|
|35 to 44 yrs||88.2||87.6|
|45 to 54 yrs||85.1||82.6|
|55 to 64 yrs||76.1||64.1|
|65 to 74 yrs||58.8||46.2|
|75 yrs and over||36.7||18|
Cohabitating partners more often sexually active
People living with a partner are generally more active than those living without a partner. This applies to all age groups. The group living without a partner includes both single persons and parents in single-parent families. There is no data on whether these people are in a relationship. The sexually active share among single over-75s in particular is significantly lower at 8 percent than the share among people in the same age group who live with a partner (41 percent). This is related to the low share of elderly people (women in particular) who are sexually active. A relatively high share of over-75s live without a partner, especially among women over 75, over half of whom live in a single-person household. In the age group 16 to 34 years living without a partner, the sexually active share was 74 percent. This was 98 percent among those living with a partner.
|Leeftijd||Single or single parent (% of respondents who answered the question)||Cohabiting/married (% of respondents who answered the question)|
|Total (16 yrs and over)||48.6||83.3|
|16 to 34 yrs||73.7||98.2|
|35 to 44 yrs||68.2||95|
|45 to 54 yrs||57.1||92.2|
|55 to 64 yrs||39.6||81|
|65 to 74 yrs||23.9||64.9|
|75 yrs and over||7.5||41.1|
A quarter of over-75s preferred not to say
In the survey, participants did not have to answer the question about their sexual activity. The option not to give an answer was offered actively. Twelve percent of the participants chose not to answer this question. Young people are less likely to do so than elderly people. Among the 16 to 44-year-olds, less than 10 percent preferred not to answer questions on this topic. That share increased progressively to 24 percent among the over-75s. Women aged 45 and over were more likely to say they did not want to answer the question about sexual activity than their male peers.
- StatLine - Life tyle and (preventive) health examination; personal characteristics (smoking, drug use, exercise, body weight, nutrition)
- StatLine - Life style and (preventive) health examination; personal characteristics (smoking, drug use, exercise, body weight, diet)
- Rutgers Centre - Key figures from the Lifestyle Monitor - sexual health (Dutch only)