Sexual Satisfaction In Older Women

Ladies, you really are getting better with age!

A study of sexually active older women out of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, indicates that sexual satisfaction in women increases the older you get, and that those of you not engaged in sex during your twilight years are also quite satisfied with your sex lives. In fact, a majority of the participants in the study report frequent arousal and orgasm that continue into old age, despite low sexual desire.

Eight hundred and six older women (median age 67) who live in a planned community near San Diego formed the basis of the research. Their health had been tracked for over 40 years as part of the Rancho Bernardo Study cohort. The study measured the prevalence of current sexual activity; the characteristics associated with sexual activity including demographics, health, and hormone use; frequency of arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and pain during sexual intercourse; and sexual desire and satisfaction in older women.

Sixty-three percent of the respondents were post-menopausal, but half of the subjects indicated having a partner who had been sexually active in the last month. As you would expect, the group's level of sexual activity declined with age, but still the 67.1 percent of the sexually active women achieved orgasm most of the time or always. The oldest and the youngest women in the survey reported the highest frequency of orgasm satisfaction.

The stats weren't all chocolates and rose petals, however. Forty percent of all women stated that they never or almost never felt sexual desire. One-third of the sexually active women reported low sexual desire.

"Despite a correlation between sexual desire and other sexual function domains, only 1 in 5 sexually active women reported high sexual desire. Approximately half of the women aged 80 years or more reported arousal, lubrication, and orgasm most of the time, but rarely reported sexual desire. In contrast with traditional linear model in which desire precedes sex, these results suggest that women engage in sexual activity for multiple reasons, which may include affirmation or sustenance of a relationship," reported Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, the lead investigator on the project.

But not only were the oldest women in this study the most satisfied overall (approximately half of the women over 80 years old reported sexual satisfaction 'almost always' or 'always'), those who were recently sexually active experienced orgasm satisfaction rates similar to the youngest participants.

Note however, it's not always about intercourse: "In this study, sexual activity was not always necessary for sexual satisfaction. Those who were not sexually active may have achieved sexual satisfaction through touching, caressing, or other intimacies developed over the course of a long relationship," says first author Susan Trompeter, MD.

The study was published in The American Journal of Medicine.