Older married couples who have regular sex are more likely to be happier with their lives than those who do not, according to US research.

Only 40 percent of those who had no sex in the past 12 months said they were "very happy with life in general," compared to 60 percent of those who said they had sex more than once a month.

Almost 80 percent of those who had sex more than once a month also said they were very happy with their marriage, compared to 59 percent who did not, according to the research presented at the Gerontological Society of America's conference in Boston on Sunday.

"This study will help open the lines of communication and spark interest in developing 'outside the box' approaches to dealing with resolvable issues that limit or prevent older adults from participating in sexual activity," according to Adrienne Jackson, from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Jackson added, "Highlighting the relationship between sex and happiness will help us in developing and organizing specific sexual health interventions for this growing segment of our population."

Some 238 married individuals aged 65 and older took part in the study.

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