An Elderly Couple Kissing
Research has found that sexual activity increases slightly after 50 years of marriageReuters

Half a century of marriage is something of a springboard back into sexual activity, new research has found.

A married couple's sex life tends to peter out over time, but a study from Louisiana State University, Florida State University and Baylor University found that there is a "slight rebound" in sexual frequency after 50 years of marriage.

The study, which looked at 1,656 married adults ages 57-85 and is published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour journal, also found that couples who remain in their first marriage are more sexually active than those who remarry.

Former Baylor researcher Samuel Stroope said that while the frequency of intercourse tends to drop over time, "it may be that the permanency of the relationship contributes to sexual relations picking up a bit at the end."

Trying to describe why it picks back up, Stroope said: "Growing old as a couple, with the experience and knowledge that come with that, may play a part. You are able to learn about your partner and build on that over time.

"You may have a higher level of trust when you feel that your spouse isn't going to go anywhere. The expectation that the relationship will continue may give you more reason to invest in the relationship - including in sexual aspects of the relationship."

Describing why he thinks those who remarry are less sexually active, Stroope added: "It may be that those who have been married in the past may not have as strong of a sense of permanence or lasting investment."

Jeremy Uecker, PhD, an assistant professor of sociology at Baylor and a co-author, said: "We know a great deal about sexual behaviour at younger stages of the life course. This study adds to a small but growing body of research on the sexual behaviour of older adults."