In elderly women, successful aging and positive quality of life indicators are linked to sexual satisfaction — even when physical health is declining — a new study finds.

The researchers concluded that seniors, especially those who have high levels of physical and mental health, can enjoy sexual activity well into old age, which has a ripple effect on other aspects of life.

The scientists at the University of California at San Diego studied 1,235 women in three different age cohorts: ages 60 to 69, 70 to 79 and 80 to 89.

As they expected, investigators found that sexual activity and functioning, such as arousal, decline along with physical and mental health as a woman ages. But they were somewhat surprised to find that overall satisfaction with subjects’ sex life was not statistically unusual throughout the age groups.

“Although the levels of sexual activity and functioning did vary significantly depending on the woman’s age, their perceived quality of life, successful aging and sexual satisfaction remained positive,” said the study’s co-author and medical student Lindsey Charo.

“Feeling satisfied with your sex life — whatever your level of sexual activity — is closely related to your perceived quality of life,” the study’s co-author, Wesley K. Thompson, Ph.D., told Medical News Today.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society in August.