What's more important in a relationship - intimacy or companionship?

As people get older, they sometimes to look for different things in relationships than they did in their younger years.

Some are looking purely for companionship, while others are seeking something that will spice up their sex life after a long marriage or partnership with one person.

A recent study by clandestine dating website Ashley Madison has shed some light on what older people who use the site are seeking when they set up a profile.

Ashley Madison targets people who are already married or in relationships, meaning that people who use the site are usually seeking something they’re not getting from their current partner.

And if you thought that hook-up apps and dating websites were just for younger people, you’d be wrong. Since 2007, there’s been a 126 per cent jump in the number of Ashley Madison members who’re aged 60 or older – sure, there’s been a jump in the number of people entering that demographic in the same period, but not a 126 per cent jump. 

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But while many more Baby Boomers are looking for a relationship, it looks like men and women aren’t always on the same page when it comes to what they want out of it. (Admittedly, the results are from a site best known for people looking for sex, rather than love, so may be slightly skewed.)

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The survey was drawn from Ashley Madison’s global users aged 60-plus and showed that men tend to use the website to seek physical relationships, while women are more likely to look for emotional support and companionship.

An incredible 94 per cent of males said they were seeking physical and sexual intimacy when it came to a relationship, compared to the 68 per cent of ladies who wanted the same thing.

When broken down, 48 per cent of men said they occasionally wanted to be physically intimate, 47 per cent wanted sex between one and three times a week, and 4 per cent said they wanted to get physical more than five times a week.

Intimacy still proved important to women, with only two per cent saying they never wanted to be intimate with a partner they met online, while 48 per cent said they wanted physical types of intimacy up to three times a week, 42 per cent said they wanted it occasionally and eight per cent said they wanted sex more than five times a week.

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Only 30 per cent of men said they wanted companionship, though, while 46 per cent of women said that’s what they were looking for. Women were also more likely to look for someone who would take care of them, while more men wanted to look after their female companion.

Both men and women were pretty even when it came to finding someone who can take care of themselves and have fun, at 28 and 29 percent respectively.

And while age is just a number to some, it appears that the sexes also have a different idea of the ideal age for a potential partner.

Men weren’t as choosy when it came to age, with 58 per cent saying it didn’t matter, while 31 per cent wanted someone younger than themselves, 11 per cent wanted someone their own age, and only 4 per cent were seeking someone older.

In contrast, 33 per cent of women wanted someone their own age, 31 per cent weren’t fussed by age and further 31 per cent were seeking younger partners. Just 4 per cent wanted an older man.

Is sex or companionship more important to you in a relationship? Would you ever use a dating website to find love?