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Sex and Midlife Women

Women who consider sex to be important at midlife are more likely to stay sexually active than women who don’t, experts report.

Their study, published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 354 women between the ages of 40 and 65 who lived in the Pittsburgh area. The women completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a questionnaire that assesses women’s sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and pain with intercourse.

The researchers also asked the women to rate how important sex was for them.

Four years later, the women completed the FSFI again. Eighty-five percent of them were still sexually active. The researchers found that the women who considered sex to be important during the first assessment were more likely to be sexually active four years later.

“Women who felt that sex was highly important were about three times as likely to continue having sex as women who thought it was a little or not important,” Dr. Holly Thomas, one of the study authors, told HealthDay.

The research team also discovered that, according to mean FSFI scores, many of the women could technically be diagnosed with sexual dysfunction. However, this might have happened because of the way the FSFI is designed.

“As women age, kissing and intimate touching become more important relative to penetrative intercourse,” the authors wrote. “The FSFI’s focus on intercourse may not accurately reflect what constitutes satisfying sex in this population, yielding falsely low scores.”


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Resources

HealthDay

Goodman, Brenda

“Sex Is Important to Many Midlife Women”

(February 10, 2014)

http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/sex-is-important-to-many-post-menopausal-women-684734.html

JAMA Internal Medicine

Thomas, Holly N., MD, et al.

“Sexual Activity in Midlife Women: Importance of Sex Matters”

(Full-text. Published online: February 10, 2014)

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1828742

Reuters Health

Cohen, Ronnie

“Sexually active midlife women continue to have sex”

(February 10, 2014)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/10/us-midlife-women-sex-idUSBREA191XG20140210