Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 173-200

First online:

Sexual activity among older Thais: The influence of age, gender and health

  • John KnodelAffiliated withPopulation Studies Center, University of Michigan
  • , Napaporn ChayovanAffiliated withCollege of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University

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This study examines sexual activity among thepopulation aged 50 and over in Thailand inrelation to age, gender and health status. Itis the first study of older persons based on alarge nationally representative survey in anynon-Western or developing country. The resultsindicate substantial proportions of oldermarried Thais remain sexually active, but atlower levels than found in Western countries. Sexual activity and desire decline steadilywith age for both married men and women but atany given age both are lower for women. Overall, the sexual desire of husbands is a farmore important determinant of marital sexualactivity than that of wives. Poor healthdepresses activity and desire but does notaccount for the decline of either with age. Forthe majority of older married Thai men andwomen behavior and desires are concordant. Discordance levels for married women exceedthose for men, however, and arise primarilyfrom being active but lacking desire. Possiblereasons for lower sexual activity relative toWestern countries are considered. Implicationsfor the quality of life of older persons andthe AIDS epidemic are discussed together withmethodological lessons for research on olderage sexual behavior.

Coitus Gender Health HIV/AIDS Older persons Sexual behavior Sexual desire Thailand