A range of studies over the years regarding the sex drive of middle-aged women has put them anywhere from “cold fish” who no longer care about coitus to cougars who can’t get enough, particularly when it comes to courting the favors of much younger men. For most females, however, the truth lies somewhere in between.
Although there may be less opportunity for sex after a certain age, a 2010 study led by David Buss, a psychologist from the University of Texas, along with (then) graduate students, Judith Easton (who is listed as lead author), Jaime Confer and Cari Goetz found that women in their 30s and early 40s are actually a lot more sexual than their younger counterparts. In fact, those aged 27-45 actually reportedly enjoying more intense sexual fantasies than those aged 18-26. While one reason may be the fact that they have had more experience (despite the promiscuous picture painted about many coeds), improved birth control methods have also given them the courage to experiment with more casual sex, including one-night stands than younger women.
In fact, those aged 27-45 actually reportedly enjoying more intense sexual fantasies than those aged 18-26. While one reason may be the fact that they have had more experience (despite the promiscuous picture painted about many coeds), improved birth control methods have also given them the courage to experiment with more casual sex, including one-night stands than younger women.
However a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC has revealed that women “experience a notable decline in sexual function approximately 20 months before and 12 months after their final period.” For many, the question has remained as to how much of this is caused by the physical effects of menopause (i.e. vaginal dryness, etc), psychological and social issues and even various illnesses related to aging.
For the most part, Nancy Avis, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest stated that her team’s findings support that “menopause has a negative effect on sexual functioning in many women.” In addition, the study, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, also found that while females who had a hysterectomy before the onset of menopause did not experience a noticeable reduction in sexual function immediately before undergoing the procedure, they did so, for as long as 5-years afterward.
Avis and her colleagues based their conclusions on data amassed from 1,390 participants aged 42-52 in the federally funded Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which began in 1996. Each enrollee knew the date of her final menstrual period and was asked to answer questions regarding various aspects of sexual function such as desire, arousal, satisfaction and pain between 1-7 times during the duration of the program.
The scientists then “analyzed 5,798 of these self-assessments (4,932 from the 1,164 women in the natural menopause group and 866 from the 226 women in the hysterectomy group). All in all, 75% of the middle-aged women participating in the SWAN study stated that being able to function sexually matter a great deal to them. At the same time, one of the most interesting observations made was that race/ played a major role in the decline of sexual function of those who experienced natural menopause, with African American women experiencing significantly less lost libido and ethnically Japanese women experiencing more when compared to Caucasians.