Here at CrunchyTales, we believe we can have a healthy, rewarding sex life at any age. Sex can be a powerful emotional experience and a great tool for protecting or improving health, and it’s certainly not only for the young. Now, a study from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) – that followed over 3,200 women for approximately 15 years- confirms what we always have thought; midlife doesn’t have to be sexless.
According to the research, even though ladies experience changes with the menopausal transition that can affect their sex lives, they often adapt behaviorally and psychologically to these changes. In particular, increased self-knowledge and self-confidence, as well as enhanced communication skills in the bedroom, may lead to improvements in sexual satisfaction with ageing.
In contrast to prior literature reporting that the importance of sex decreases as women move through midlife- said lead author Dr Holly Thomas, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh – we found that for a quarter of women, sex remains highly important to them throughout midlife.
The research, which is being presented at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of NAMS, found for almost half of the women (45%), sex was important early in midlife and became less so over time. For roughly a quarter of the women (27%), sex remained highly important to them throughout midlife, and for another quarter (28%), sex was of low importance during midlife. In particular, women in the study who highly valued sex shared the following characteristics: they were more highly educated, they were less depressed, and they had experienced better sexual satisfaction before entering midlife.
From an ethnic perspective, the study also found black women were more likely to rate sex as important for the duration of midlife, whereas Chinese and Japanese women were more likely to rate sex as not important or to see drops in importance. Other variables included women with depression symptoms, who were more likely to have low importance or see drops in the importance of sex.
Of course, as we grow older, we can’t deny the role our bodies play. Satisfying sex depends on several things: the presence of desire and arousal but also the absence of pain and an ability to reach orgasm. “Studies like these give valuable insights to healthcare providers who may otherwise dismiss a woman’s waning sexual desire as a natural part of ageing – says NAMS medical director Stephanie Faubion– Often there are other treatable reasons, such as vaginal dryness or depression, as to why a woman’s interest in sex may have decreased.”
Amongst all, being able to create a deep connection with our partner is the key to having a better sexual satisfaction. Speaking openly about sex may not come easily to you, but improving your communication will help both of you feel closer, and can make sex more pleasurable. Once again, as the saying goes, the brain remains a woman’s most important sex organ.