It is a matter of common observation that with age women usually lose their interest in sex, mainly, because many of them start finding it boring. Up until now, the researchers have put all the blame on physiological changes just before and after the menopause. But researchers have now overcome other factors contributing to this health issue.
Research constantly supports the notion that just before menopause and after it, women tend to get less pleasure from sex. Many of the women also report having less pleasure and less sex after menopause.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America says, “sexual dysfunction increases with age and is highly prevalent among menopausal women.” The most recent study refers to previous research by explaining that 42% of women who were just on their way to the menopause stage started experiencing manifestations of sexual dysfunction. The percentage rose to 88% after a period of 8 years.
To answer their questions, doctors usually target psychological factors including vaginal dryness and a sharp change in estrogen levels. These factors contribute to making sex less amusing just before and during menopause.
It is important to consider that the change in sexual desires is not only because of psychological aspects but there are other factors too.
A group of researchers from University College London in the UK, the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and the University of Sussex in Brighton in the UK worked together to find out if the sex life of a woman is directly related to their age. It is due to daily life stress issues and other psychological factors which are not in control.
The findings of the research paper “Sexual functioning in 4,418 postmenopausal women participating in UKCTOCS” are published in the journal Menopause. In the study, 4,418 women of approximately 64 of the age participated in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS). They were also asked to fill the questionnaire which was related to their sexual life and their sexual health.
Is there any other key factor for not having sex other than health?
The participants who filled out the questionnaire responded to their amount of sexual activity as well as sexual function. The questionnaire also asked the women the reasons behind their lack of engagement or no engagement in sex.
Concluding the results, researchers noted that 65.3% of the participants had an active sexual partner while on the other hand, 22.5% of the women were only sexually active. The rate decreased with time as sexually active women reported having less sexual engagement. Many of them also found sex uncomfortable.
As per the analysis, with time women stopped having sex because they lacked a partner and were alone. This was a major reason and was mainly related to the widows.
A participant said: “I have been a widow for 17 years. My husband was my childhood sweetheart, there will never be anyone else.”
Other than the reason for not having a partner, many women were found to be burdened by family responsibilities which eventually failed them in having sexual satisfaction. Another woman said, “There is no sexual activity in my life at present because I do not have a partner and I feel my role in life at present is to bring up my 12-year-old son, relationships come second.”
Other major key factors which contributed to affect the sexual lives of women included partners having sexual dysfunction, their own health problems, partners having any health condition which affected their libido function, menopause-related physical manifestations, and prescribed medicines which may be affecting their sexual function.
Many said that the main problem with having low libido in their romantic relationship was due to the fact of organizing sex and how the age factor affects self-confidence as well as self-image.
The author says, “a small minority (3%) reported optimistic and positive sexual experiences,” the researchers write in their paper. Also, “[1 in 8] women in [the] study experienced sexual problems, but only 2% referred to [hormone therapy].”
Hesitance should be avoided first
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, a medical supervisor of the North American Menopause Society, observes, “Sexual health challenges are common in women as they age, and partner factors play a prominent role in women’s sexual activity and satisfaction, including the lack of a partner, sexual dysfunction of a partner, poor physical health of a partner, and relationship issues.”
She further explains, “In addition, menopause-related problems such as vaginal dryness and pain with sex have been identified as problems affecting sexual function, yet few women seek treatment for these issues, despite the availability of effective therapies.”
The authors say that their new findings have provided a base for clinical practices as health specialists would like to know all the difficulties and problems faced by older women which have been affecting their sexual lives.
Researchers explain that “sexual difficulties are often underreported, underrecognized, and undertreated.”
The researchers advise health specialists to talk to their older female patients openly and not to hesitate as “Open communication about sexuality, including desires, needs, and dysfunctions is important and will reduce the threshold for women to discuss sexual function. Additional sexual education for [healthcare practitioners] is required to facilitate this process.”