Sexual activity, fertility and contraceptive use in middle-aged and older men: Men in Australia, Telephone Survey (MATeS)

Carol A. Holden, R. I. McLachlan, R. Cumming, G. Wittert, D. J. Handelsman, D. M. de Kretser, M. Pitts

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Background: With limited information regarding fertility and sexual activity in the older population, men's behaviour, attitudes and concerns were explored in a representative population of middle-aged and older men using the Men in Australia, Telephone Survey (MATeS). Methods: A stratified random national sample of 5990 men participated in a standardized computer-assisted telephone interview. Equal numbers in the age strata 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and ≥70 years were surveyed with findings census-standardized to the national population. Broad aspects of men's health and well-being, including reproductive health, were explored. Results: The majority of men were sexually active in the last 12 months (age-standardized proportion, 78.3%) with ∼37% of men aged ≥70 years still continuing sexual activity. Overall, 12.2% of men had never fathered children, of whom most (7.7%) had chosen not to have children. Questioning on failed attempts to produce a pregnancy suggested an involuntary infertility rate of 7.6%. The age-standardized vasectomy rate was 25.1%, with 5.6% of vasectomized men having no children. Although 9.2% of vasectomized men regretted sterilization, only 1.4% had undergone vasectomy reversal. Conclusions: Continuing sexual activity, fertility and contraception needs in middle-aged and older men suggests that education and service delivery must be more appropriately directed to an ageing population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3429-3434
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2005


  • Ageing
  • Contraception
  • Epidemiology
  • Male infertility
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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