January 13, 2016
2 min read

Older men more likely to purchase sex, less likely to use condoms

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Among men aged 60 to 84 years who solicited sex workers, those who were older were more likely to frequently purchase sex and were more likely to engage in sexual activities without protection, according to recently published data.

“There is a nearly universal perception that older men do not pay for, or even engage sexually with regular frequency. This view may contribute to a false sense of security for both clients and sex workers during their encounters, and may lead to less protective strategies than with younger purchasers of sex. In addition, the exchange of emotional intimacy during the so-called ‘Girlfriend Experience’ as well as the possibility of being viewed as an elderly low-risk client who engages with only one or a very limited number of providers may contribute to a relaxation of boundaries and a false sense of security in avoiding STIs,” Christina Milrod, PhD, sex therapist in Los Angeles, said in a press release.

To assess condom use and sexual risk behavior in older men who solicited sex workers, Milrod and colleague Martin Monto, PhD, University of Portland, Oregon, surveyed 208 men, aged 60 to 84 years, who had been actively using sex provider review website and discussion boards. The majority of participants were white (n = 201), heterosexual (n = 202) and 68% reported being married.

Results demonstrated that among men who reported purchasing sex more than 13 times in the past 12 months (n = 118), the most commonly purchased sexual activity was fellatio, with 33.7% of participants reporting no condom use during oral sex. Sexual intercourse with a condom was reported by 31.7% of participants, according to the researchers. Older age was associated with more frequent purchasing of a sex provider.

More than 97% of men who had ever used a sex worker reported having engaged in fellatio without a condom and 96.6% reported engaging in vaginal-penile sex with a condom, according to the researchers. Almost 95% of men reported manual masturbation without a condom, according to a press release.

More than 31% of participants reported having ever been diagnosed with an STI and 77.4% of men reported they believed they had a low chance of becoming infected with HIV. However, only 62% of these men reported having been tested for HIV, according to a press release.

Patient-provider discussions about sex after turning 60 were only reported by 57.2% of participants, and 82.2% of these men reported initiating the conversation, according to the researchers.

“Medical and mental health clinicians should not assume that old age is a barrier to paying for sex, particularly among the generational cohorts that began engaging in sexual activity prior to the epidemic emergence of [HIV]. Health screenings of aging males should include specific questions concerning a putative variety of sexual partners and detailed assessments of protective strategies to reduce the incidence of STIs among this growing population of sexually active older men,” the researchers concluded. – by Casey Hower

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.