Philadelphia, PA -- A new study of sexually active older women has found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age and those not engaging in sex are satisfied with their sex lives. A majority of study participants report frequent arousal and orgasm that continue into old age, despite low sexual desire. The study appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System evaluated sexual activity and satisfaction as reported by 806 older women who are part of the Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS) cohort, a group of women who live in a planned community near San Diego and whose health has been tracked for medical research for 40 years. 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.
The median age in the study was 67 years and 63% were postmenopausal. Half the respondents who reported having a partner had been sexually active in the last 4 weeks. The likelihood of sexual activity declined with increasing age. The majority of the sexually active women, 67.1%, achieved orgasm most of the time or always. The youngest and oldest women in the study reported the highest frequency of orgasm satisfaction.
40% of all women stated that they never or almost never felt sexual desire, and one third of the sexually active women reported low sexual desire. Lead investigator Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, Distinguished Professor and Chief, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, comments, "Despite a correlation between sexual desire and other sexual function domains, only
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