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Still sexy after all these years

By Ian Kerner, CNN Contributor
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu December 12, 2013
Christie Brinkley will turn 60 on Sunday, and she's celebrating by showing off her birthday (swim)suit <a href='http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20780764,00.html' target='_blank'>on the cover of People magazine</a>. The model and mom of three said she is feeling better than ever as she heads toward the milestone. "I'm actually excited about turning 60," Brinkley told People. "My 50s weren't easy. ... But I made it through. Now I feel on top of my game." Here are a few other celebs who are sexy in their 60s. Christie Brinkley will turn 60 on Sunday, and she's celebrating by showing off her birthday (swim)suit on the cover of People magazine. The model and mom of three said she is feeling better than ever as she heads toward the milestone. "I'm actually excited about turning 60," Brinkley told People. "My 50s weren't easy. ... But I made it through. Now I feel on top of my game." Here are a few other celebs who are sexy in their 60s.
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Sexy in their 60s
Oprah Winfrey
Suzanne Somers
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
Meryl Streep
Liam Neeson
Cher
Richard Gere
Sting
Jessica Lange
Helen Mirren
Pierce Brosnan
Pam Grier
Bruce Springsteen
Jeff Bridges
Kathie Lee Gifford
Jane Seymour
Tom Selleck
Phylicia Rashad
Susan Lucci
Susan Sarandon
Jaclyn Smith
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Research shows 57- to 85-year-olds remain sexually active
  • Marital satisfaction may improve once kids leave the nest
  • "We're no longer propelled by our hormones," says one senior sex expert

Editor's note: Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, writes about sex and relationships for CNN Health. Read more from him on his website, Good In Bed.

(CNN) -- Contrary to the recent musings of Miley Cyrus that sex goes kaput once you hit 40, there's research to support that older people are right to have "great sexpectations."

But research has shown that as people age, they don't necessarily forget how to have a good time in the bedroom.

"Sex can be better after 40, 50 and 60 than it ever was in our 20s," says Joan Price, a writer, educator and senior sex expert. "Now, we're no longer propelled by our hormones -- we're having sex for other reasons: sexual pleasure and release, intimacy, joy, bonding, emotional well-being."

As I discussed in a previous CNN column, sex therapist David Schnarch writes about the difference between a person's "genital prime" and his or her "sexual prime."

For most of us, the genital prime happens during adolescence and our 20s, when the body is in its best shape. However, the mind may not be as well-developed sexually. Schnarch says that a person's sexual prime is actually well beyond what most of us think of as the hot-and-heavy sex years -- more like middle age than high school.

So is senior sex actually something you should be looking forward to? Does it get better with age?

According to a study in the November 2008 issue of Psychological Science, marital satisfaction may actually improve once your kids leave the nest, and this higher satisfaction level extends to the bedroom.

Is sex safe after a heart attack?

In fact, many of my colleagues in the world of sex therapy claim that empty-nesters tend to have more disposable income and more opportunity to enjoy quality time with their partner.

Not only that but, as we age, we benefit from accepting ourselves as we are, knowing what we like, and not being afraid to ask for it.

The New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 published a comprehensive sex survey of 57- to 85-year-olds in the United States.

The survey involved two-hour, face-to-face interviews with 3,005 men and women around the country.

Researchers also took blood, saliva and other samples so as to learn more about hormone levels, sex-related infections, and other health issues. They even tested how well seniors could see, taste, hear, and smell -- things that affect being able to have and enjoy sex.

Among survey respondents, 73% of those aged 57 to 64; 53% of those aged 64 to 75; and 26% of people 75 to 85 reported having sex with a partner in the previous year.

Of those who were active, most said they did it two to three times a month or more. Not only that, more than half of those aged 57 to 75 said they still gave or received oral sex, as did about a third of 75- to 85-year-olds.

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Of course, not everything in your sexual future is rainbows and multiple orgasms. Sexual issues may arise at any age.

But in the case of this study, half of the sexually active respondents reported having at least one sexual issue to contend with. The most common issue for men was erection trouble (37%). As for women, they experienced low desire (43%), vaginal dryness (39%) and inability to have an orgasm (34%). In addition, one out of seven men used Viagra or other substances to improve sex.

Still, these issues don't deter them. Just last year, research published in the British Medical Journal showed that 80% of 50- to 90-year-olds were sexually active.

Take that, Miley.

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