Do you think that women over 50 are through with sex? If so, I have some good news for you.
The old formula was that menopause meant sexual death for women. But recently, I found an article with some optimistic news.
In an article published in the July, 2015 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, researchers looked at a sample of more than 2,000 older partnered women and found that 59 percent had continued to be active sexually. And a lot of them were very happy with the sex that they were having.
Happily, the researchers left it up to the women to define what “sex” was to them. They did not define sex strictly by the book, sexual function, as did Masters and Johnson’s (1966) formula of sex equals excitement, then plateau, then orgasm, and then resolution. These respondents each defined “sex” in their own way, so they may have been having other forms of sex that did not necessarily include intercourse. It’s not clear.
Nevertheless, a lot of these women were reporting sexual satisfaction. And that’s a good thing, because all the professional literature shows that there is a strong link between a healthy sex life and a higher quality of life as people age.
When the researchers looked at what was correlating these over-50 women’s happy experience with sex, they found that psychosocial factors were very relevant. The factors that correlated were:
• Relationship satisfaction
• Communication with romantic partner
• Sense of the importance of sex
These researchers’ conclusions fit with what I see clinically. Women who never learned how to enjoy their sexuality, and women who are alienated from their partners often stop having sex in their relationships.
Older women who have partners they love, feel close to, and who previously valued and enjoyed sex keep having sex in one way or another. There is even a group of much older women who enjoy sex.
So if you’re a younger woman who likes sex and is worried about aging, take heart.
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