Bedrooms aren't only for sleeping, they are the backdrop for intimate encounters and sexual exploration; they are prime sites for awakening passion and cementing trust and openness in a relationship. One woman, who chose to only go by the name Gonzalez during an interview with AARP, believes that Hispanics "put a higher priority on having great sex and passion in their relationships than do other Americans." Sex, Romance, and Relationships: AARP Survey of Midlife and Older Adults, a survey conducted by AARP, that explores intimate details about the sexual behaviors of U.S. Hispanics age 45 and over shows that Gonzales isn't the only one who thinks that way.

On average, Hispanics 45+ have sex more frequently than non-Hispanics of the same age. Nearly 40 percent have sex at least once a week, compared to 28 percent of the general U.S. population. Beyond quantity, Latinos appear to be more satisfied with their sex lives. Only 43 percent of the general population says that they're "extremely" or "somewhat" satisfied with their sex lives, compared to 56 percent of Latinos.

The study did not reveal why older Latinos had more sex than other races of the same age, but it did show that there was more value placed on sexual intimacy in relationships. The survey also suggested that older Hispanics are more affectionate toward their mates, which leads to more sex. Also, according to Gonzalez, older Latinos are open about sex, practice spontaneity, and they are romantic on the phone. Latinos are more likely to agree that "sex is critical to a good relationship" (68 percent vs. 58 percent) and "sex is a duty to one's partner" (43 percent vs. 33 percent). However, Latinos are also more likely than non-Hispanics to agree that "sex is primarily for procreation" (15 percent vs. 8 percent) and "I do not particularly enjoy sex" (13 percent vs. 7 percent).

The apparent contradictory responses suggest that the sexual behavior of Hispanics should be examined by looking at subgroups, rather than Latinos as a homogeneous group, as each subgroup is likely to respond differently to the questions posed, based on values, traditions, religion, and culture.

"From a relational perspective, Hispanics value family and traditional gender roles," says Manuel Gomes, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and founder of the Washington Institute for Intimacy and Sexual Health, who is a certified sex and marriage therapist. "There is a complicated ambivalence of sexuality in Hispanics cultures where sexuality is openly valued and yet feminine virginity is promoted as well. This represents the duality of machismo and Roman Catholic influences."

Sensuality, not just sex, is made important in the way that Latino couples and individuals interact physically, more so than other groups. Also, Hispanics' libidos aren't quite as affected by financial difficulty as non-Latinos because they tend to have a support network to draw on. All of these things make for happier sexual relations for older Latinos.