Sex After 40: What it’s like for Women

//Sex After 40: What it’s like for Women

Women have different sexual needs which depend on their personalities, level of stress and anxiety, hormonal fluctuations, and career responsibilities. Young women from ages 18 to 25 are considered to be the most fertile but engage less in sexual pursuits compared to older women in their late years. Women may experience the freedom of self-expression, liberation, and increased sex drive and libido when they reach their 40s.

A study in 2011 entitled “Sexual Activity and Satisfaction in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Women” from The American Journal of Medicine reported that sexual satisfaction for women rises as age increases. Several researchers from the San Diego School of Medicine, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California surveyed 806 women from ages 40 to 100 who were part of a planned community where medical experts monitor their health status for medical research. Most women cooperators were 67 years of age, and 508 women were post-menopausal. The principal researcher, Elizabeth Barett-Connor, documented that 50% of the respondents of at least 80 years had experienced arousal, lubrication, and orgasm with infrequent sexual desire. She further elaborated that the results inferred that women engage in intimate activities to maintain and secure their relationship with their partner.

The age of 40 to 50 is the prime period of sexual changes for women who are in their perimenopausal stage or the period before the menopausal stage. During this period, the level of estrogen declines and menstruation becomes irregular. Perimenopausal women may also feel the dryness and itchiness of the vagina due to thinning of vaginal walls which affect their sexual activities. Hormone fluctuation during this period also contributes to less lubrication of the vagina which makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable for women. Hot flashes and disturbed sleep can also influence their sexual drive and impulse.

A psychologist from the University of Texas, David Buss, and his colleagues published an article on the journal Personality and Individual Differences which addressed the evolutionary force that influences the sexual desire of older women. They found that women in their 40s engage in various sexual activities such as one-night stands, casual sex, unusual bedroom behavior, and intense sexual fantasies due to their low fertility rate and hormonal fluctuations. Dr. Jane L. Frederick, a reproductive endocrinologist from Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in California, added that older women tend to be more confident with their sensuality and think of reproduction frequently during their midlife.

Furthermore, older women should also recognize the risks of engaging in sexual activities in their late years. The Centers for Disease Control conducted a study about STDs or Sexually Transmitted Disease in adults. The thinning of vaginal walls, lack of birth control, and erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs for men make older women susceptive to infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or congenital syphilis. Older women should also provide sufficient attention to their cardiovascular system since it is the system accountable for sexual functionalities. A healthy lifestyle such as proper diet and cardiovascular exercise will maintain their physical health, energy, and confidence during sexual activities.