Let’s talk about sex! While sexual activity, and sexual desire for that matter, is usually thought of to be a younger woman’s game, an increasing amount of attention is being given to older women and their sexuality. It has been commonly thought for years that a woman peaks sexually around the age of 30 to 40, and after that experiences a steady decline in her sexual performance and desire until she hits menopause. However, according to some new studies, that might not necessarily be the case. In fact, some studies are showing that as opposed to the more commonly held opinion that older women simply aren’t interested in sex, sexual desire actually increases with age.
But how is that possible? Isn’t sex all just a “hormone” thing? If that were the case, then it would certainly be true that sexual desire may drop among women who are experiencing menopause, or among women who were post-menopausal. However, the study cites a few different reasons as the main cause of rising sexual desire in older women. Older women do not have the same concerns as their younger counterparts. They do not have to worry about birth control or potential pregnancies, and more often than not older women are having sex with life-long partners, a fact that greatly reduces the potential risk of STDs. It should also be taken into consideration that women with life partners are more likely to have an emotional connection with the object of their sexual desire. That emotional connection leads to greater sexual satisfaction when they do engage with their partners.
It is true that as women get older, they tend to have less sex. It is also true that they may experience a lack of lubrication. These are not necessarily factors for decreased sexual satisfaction. In the study, it was found that the act of intercourse was not necessarily the most important way for older women to achieve satisfaction, and other forms of gratification were just as, if not more, important to them than intercourse.
So what does that mean for women? Well, for one thing, it is further proof that growing older does not mean that women have to “throw in the towel” on their sex lives. Women that are not sexually satisfied, that are experiencing pain or discomfort during sex, or who are having any other sex related issues should not just assume it is a natural byproduct of aging. Always speak with your doctor to determine whether or not there is anything that can be done to help you enjoy a happy, healthy sex life, whether you are twenty or eighty.
– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.