Sexual function and satisfaction

This project, led by David Lee (Epidemiology – Age UK Fellow), seeks to explore the question: ‘Do individuals with positive and functioning sexual, intimate relationships age more successfully than those who have less successful, or are lacking such relationships?’

Relationships with health and wellbeing in older adults within the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

The aims of the research are to describe the sexual norms of community-dwelling older men and women in England; identify how sexuality relates to health and wellbeing; and to discover whether early-life and events throughout life affect sexuality in later life.

Sexual relationships and sexual health are increasingly recognised as having a positive impact on quality-of-life and emotional wellbeing throughout the life course, with a growing body of research beginning to reveal that sexual activity and sexual satisfaction are positively related to better overall health and increased lifespan. However, very little is known about the broader impacts and relative importance of sexual relationships on the ageing process more generally. To understand the impact sexuality has on the ageing process requires broad-based research. With our ageing population it is important to describe the range of ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ sexual activities, concerns and problems in order to help predict future health service and specialist needs relating to sexual health.

The research project has established collaborations with the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) and the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle (NATSAL).


  • AGE UK Research Fellowship

Grant amount


Manchester people

  • David Lee
  • James Nazroo
  • Neil Pendleton
  • Fredrick Wu