Older women’s sex lives: Just fine, thanks

Sexual desire disorder in women is supposedly a significant problem in the United States, according to some studies and various companies that market products designed to improve women’s sex lives. But a large study published this week finds that older women are mostly quite satisfied with their sexual health. If they have a problem, it’s because they lack a partner or would like to have more sex, not less.

The data are from the Women’s Health Initiative, famous for its investigation into the effects of hormone therapy on post-menopausal women. The 27,347 women in the survey, however, were asked about their sexual activity and sexual health during the study. The review, published in the journal Menopause, found that 60% of women age 50 to 59 were sexually active, as well as almost 50% of women in their 60s and 28% of those in their 70s.

About two-thirds of the women said they were satisfied with their current sexual activity. Among those who were dissatisfied, 57% said they preferred more sexual activity. For those women who were not sexually active, the most common cause was lack of a partner, not disinterest or personal health problems.

The study also confirmed other research indicating that the decline in hormones at menopause does not interfere with most women’s ability to maintain a satisfactory sex life.

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