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.
Although sexuality remains an important component of emotional and physical intimacy that most men and women desire to experience throughout their lives, sexual dysfunction in women is a problem that is not well studied. Increasing recognition of this common problem and future research in this field may alter perceptions about sexuality, dismiss taboo and incorrect thoughts on sexual dysfunction, and spark better management for patients, allowing them to live more enjoyable lives. This need is especially acute for physicians who will increasingly encounter patients trying to maintain a high quality of life as their bodies and life circumstances change, and as advances in nutrition, health maintenance, and technology allow many to extend the time midlife activities are maintained. One quality-of-life issue affected by these changes, for both men and women, is sexuality. Although studies agree that the majority of women consider sexuality a very important determinant of quality of life, the literature on the subject of sexual function in elderly women is not extensive. Although sexuality remains an important component of emotional and physical intimacy that most men and women desire to experience throughout their lives, it is unfortunately a topic many health care professionals have difficulty raising with their patients.
Medically reviewed by Leann Poston, M. Men and women of all ages can often struggle with knowing how to turn their partner on. Mismatched cycles of desire, natural variations in desire over time, different priorities and issues, stress, pain, and so much more can all be mood killers. Aging tends to exacerbate any existing problems of desire or sexual function as well. The net result is that many couples in otherwise happy, committed relationships have trouble maintaining an active sex life with their partner, even resulting in so-called sexless marriages in some cases.
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.