Friday, 24 Oct, 2008 Science

Older People Show a Lot of Interest in Cybersex


According to a new research made by an Australian scientist, cybersex is quite popular among oldies. The study performed by Sue Malta, a sociologist working at Swinburne University's Faculty of Life and Social Sciences showed that older Australian adults have a great interest in Internet and sex.

In her research, Malta interviewed 45 older adults from Australia and 5 from the United States. The respondents were asked about their romantic relationships over the Internet. The results of the research will be presented at The Australian Sociological Association conference, which will take place in December.

According to the sociologist, the goal of the study was to analyze the way technology influences the development of relationships and how long those romances last. Malta said that the results of her study demonstrate that older people are not asexual, as it is considered in a society. In addition, she said that older adults are technologically savvy.

"That old stereotype that you get to a certain age and you don't want to do it any more is not true," she says.

People that took part in the study were aged between 60 and 92. Several participants said that they were involved in romantic online relationships. Malta found that the relationships of older people become sexually intimate much faster and last shorter.

The findings also showed that older women preferred cyber sex due to the fact that they didn't want to live with anyone again.

"The biggest reason they gave was because they had no wish to become someone's nursemaid and housekeeper. They had already been there, done that," said Malta. She added that in average older people used the Internet for 10.5 years. Their online dates lasted about 3.5 hours a day and non-internet dates lasted in average 1.5 hours.

A lot of participants reported that they applied to the Internet for more than just romantic relationships. Mainly they used it for banking, share trading and booking holidays, ABC Science reports.

In an internet romantic relationship, just like in real life, there's cheating and flirting. The majority of the participants said that cyber-flirting was rather fun, but it was not considered as a step towards a sexual relationship. There was no one to report about cyber-cheating.

One older woman said that she would rather have cybersex with an unknown person, who she would never meet in real life, and most of her cybersex meetings were with younger men. The sociologists mentioned that though there was little difference between the ways the two older groups behaved, the older online group had a somewhat different approach in online relationships than the group that featured Canadians in their 30s, who participated in the study in which Malta collaborated.

"Surprisingly the younger group was less sexually overt than the older participants," said Malta. She considers that the main reason is that younger people apply to online dating with the goal of finding a partner for real life, which is why they are more self-conscious regarding their online appearance.

"The older group are not interested in that and can be more relaxed and go with the flow," she says.

The study showed that a lot of participants were surprised by the way they expressed their sexuality.

A 92-year-old woman, whose last husband died 23 years ago, said that she is currently sexually active. She said that it was fantastic and she would never feel like "an old fool."

"A lot of the participants had health issues and found sex and intimacy was one of the best things for them and gave them increased vitality," said Malta.

According to her estimations, by the year 2031, about 25 percent of Australians will be aged over 65. She suggests that computers with Internet access should be installed in aged accommodations in order to improve the social networks of older people.

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