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Previously, doctors had believed that women stopped having sex as they got older because their sex drives fizzled.“This is the first study that indicates that [older] women would actually like to have more sex,” says Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD, director of geriatric education at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N. “We know sexual activity decreases with age, and we do attribute that to lack of a partner, but we thought that women were kind of happy with this. Well, that does not seem to be the case,” says Wolf-Klein, who was not involved in the research.The main reasons women said they stopped having sex were the loss of an able partner, poor health, and poor quality of life.
For the study, which is published in the journal Menopause, researchers looked at information collected on 27,357 women who were followed for about five to seven years.
Nearly half of the women in the study reported having sexual activity within the past year at the start of the study.
That number was higher, however, nearly 70%, among women who were married or who had a steady partner.
The study is a new analysis of health information collected on more than 27,000 women ages 50 to 79 who took part in the government-funded Women’s Health Initiative study.
As researchers expected, sexual activity declined with age.Women who reported having moderate to severe vaginal dryness were more like to report being sexually active.