Let's talk about sex – what do older men and women say about their sexual relations and sexual activities? A qualitative analysis of ELSA Wave 6 data

Authors:  Josie Tetley , David M. Lee , James Nazroo and Sharron Hinchliff
Type: Journal article
Publication date: November 2016
Published in:  Ageing and Society
DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X16001203


In 2012/2013 the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) included a comprehensive Sexual Relationships and Activities Questionnaire (SRA-Q). A total of 7,079 men and women mainly aged 50 to >90, primarily heterosexual and in a coupled relationship, completed the SRA-Q, answering a series of questions about their attitudes to sexual relationships, their own sexual activities, problems and concerns with sexual functioning, and quality of intimate relationships. The questions aimed to gain insights into the ways in which sexual relations and activities related to health, wellbeing and other lifestyle factors change as people grow older. The primary mode of data collection was a tick box response to a series of questions. However, at the end of the questionnaire an open comment box was provided, which asked respondents whether there was anything else that they would like to say; 1,084 respondents provided additional information and these comments created a unique qualitative data-set. The analysis of the data then illustrated how people's health, relationships, experiences and perceptions of ageing, along with sexual satisfaction, impact on sexual relationships and activities.

Search ELSA

Search our publications

Contact us

English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Contact us

ELSA partners: