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Do Men Have a Sexual Advantage in the Post-Viagra World?

According to a new study, older men say they have great sex lives; older women, not so much. But those results may not be all they're cracked up to be.

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If you doubt the possibility of prevarication among these survey respondents, you need only look at the adding-up problem in surveys that inquire about the number of sexual partners a person has had. Typically, heterosexual men report more sexual partners than heterosexual women within the same community. Absent a few very busy women or frequent male trips outside the area, this result is incompatible with all survey respondents telling the truth.

All these are good reasons to slow down before we attribute the age-related findings of this study to nothing but eternal differences between the libidos of men and women.

The primary focus of the University of Chicago study is the positive correlation between good health and being sexually active; not which gender gets the better sex life. Who knows, with better health at older ages, the invention of a truly efficient female equivalent for Viagra, and the erosion of taboos against older women finding younger partners, all those who wish might one day be able to continue partnered sex until they, indeed, die with a smile on their lips.

J. Goodrich is an economist. Her writing has been published in The American Prospect , Ms. magazine and on various political Web sites. She blogs at Echidne of the Snakes .

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