There is a public perception that sexual activity and satisfaction among older females decreases, especially after menopause. Although in many cases it’s true, science draws a much more interesting and complex picture. In a study carried out by the University of California, scientists scrutinized female attitudes towards sex across different age groups. They found how the notion that the sexual lives of older ladies fade away may be only a myth. In fact, the data suggests that the older a woman is, the happier she may be with her sex life.
No fuss about sex
The sample consisted of a group of 806 women living in a planned community in San Diego. They were participants in the Rancho Bernardo Study, which tracked their health for more than 40 years. Researchers from the UCSD School of Medicine surveyed the women about the activity levels and overall satisfaction with their sexual lives. They measured a number of factors relating to sexual intimacy, attitudes and practicalities. More than half of the women (63%) were postmenopausal in a group averaging 67 years of age. Rather surprising patterns emerged from the data.
Even though sexual drive and activity tend to decrease with age, the older ladies were the most sexually satisfied of all and reported similar orgasm rates to the youngest women in the study. Half of the women aged 80 and older said they were always or almost always sexually satisfied. And strangely enough, half of them also admitted to arousal, lubrication and orgasm on a regular basis despite a lack of sexual drive.
Researchers speculated that sexual satisfaction in older females may, therefore, emerge from lighter forms of sexual intimacy, such as caressing, cuddling or touching. The odd finding that desire didn’t necessarily precede sexual engagement among the older females also revealed something about their sexual habits: they may engage in sex for a multitude of reasons.
Decreased libido is not a barrier to sexual satisfaction
About 40% of the whole female sample rarely or never experienced sexual desire. Six out of 10 women declared themselves sexually satisfied, irrespective of the sexual activity or even the presence of a sexual partner.
Susan Trompeter, one of the authors of the study, stated that emotional intimacy and fulfillment with a partner are more important factors for female sexual satisfaction than sexual activity per se. She suggests that promoting a more open-minded and positive perspective that doesn’t reduce sex to a simplistic mechanical act is more beneficial for women.
The 2012 study was published in The American Journal of Medicine. The results of this study are in line with a more recent investigation by the University of Gothenburg, where it was found that 62% of women over the age of 70 were satisfied with their sexual lives. According to the Swedish study, sexual satisfaction and activity among the elderly has increased dramatically since the 1970s.