Women over age 50 are having sex — and developing STIs — at a higher rate than commonly believed. The notion that women lose interest in sexual activity after menopause has collapsed under scientific scrutiny. Of those who were dissatisfied, more than half said they would prefer having sex more often. Many smaller studies corroborate the WHI results. All in all, it's become clear that older women are more sexually active than is commonly believed. These findings probably come as little surprise to older women themselves. After all, women who are now in their 60s and 70s came of age during the so-called sexual revolution, when sexual stigmas and inhibitions were falling away, especially for women. And menopause has brought additional freedom from worries about pregnancy.
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Do women want steamy sex or just a companionable cuddle? Bettina Arndt reveals what really gets women going. What do most women of a certain age want? Melbourne-based psychiatry professor Lorraine Dennerstein conducted path-breaking research on menopause which found many women reported a drop in libido at this stage of life. But not all women. Those who found themselves with a new man reported their sex drives were flourishing! Of course there are older women who simply never lose their sex drives, or who miraculously regain interest once young sprogs are off their hands. Then there are women who find themselves with partners who lose interest, perhaps due to problems with erections, and suddenly realise they really miss physical intimacy. So some older women are keen for more action, but it is more common for senior females to find they have no spontaneous desire—sex is simply never on their agenda.
Where Do I Pick Them Up?
When I was 11 years old, my mother silently snuck into my bedroom. Under the cover of midnight, she sat cross-legged at the end of my bed and proceeded to give me The Talk, although it was more of a whisper. Instead of focusing on the anatomy of sex — the biological prophecies by which, some say, our bodies were made to meld into one — my mother chose to emphasize pleasure. She spoke about the importance of passion: pursuing it, asking for it and finding it within yourself. Society has a tendency to perpetuate this idea that the older a woman grows, the more she yearns for the beauty of her youth.
In case you need a reminder that every person and body is wildly different, enjoy the below story, originally published in June , wherein 47 women over the age of 47 weigh in on the state of their sex lives. No topic was off-limits. Read their illuminating responses below.