Elderly couple holding hands
Research has revealed that over a quarter of English men above the age of 85 have an active sex life.Getty

More than a quarter of men over the age of 85 in England have an active sex life, according to a new study. However, women in the same age category are reportedly struggling to maintain a sex life due to a shortage of men.

Research published by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) found that at least 25% of men above the age of 85 had had sex in the last year, compared with only 10% of women their age. Research also found that women above the age of 75 find it "next to impossible" to find a partner after divorce, with the likelihood decreasing further for widows.

Cesira Urzi Brancati, research fellow at ILC-UK, said: "Romantic relationships are a fundamental part of people's life – not just at a young age, but throughout the life-course. And yet, sexuality among older people is understudied at best, and neglected at worst."

The research also took into consideration how often men and women of this age group thought about sex in one month, concluding that after the age of 85 men and women "thinking about sex relatively often drops virtually to zero".

When looking at slightly younger pensioners, researchers found that 60% of men above the age of 65 had had sexual activity in the last year, compared with only 37% of women above the age of 65. The research prompted ILC-UK to examine the relationship between high sex drive and sexual activities, concluding that men and women who think about sex often were "significantly more likely to engage in sexual activities".

Researchers also found that older women were more impacted by sexual desire than men in the same age group. While men above the age of 65 think about sex more and engage in more sexual activity than their female counterparts, older women who think about sex "quite often" are more likely to engage in sexual activity than men.