TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual satisfaction increases with age among sexually active older women, according to a new study, while those who don't have sex are satisfied with their sex lives.
The study included 806 older women who live in a planned community in the San Diego area and whose health has been tracked for 40 years. The study participants' average age was 67 years and 63 percent of them were postmenopausal.
The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System researchers evaluated the women's sexual activity and satisfaction and found that half of the women with a romantic partner had been sexually active in the previous four weeks.
The investigators also found that the likelihood of sexual activity decreased with age, that 67 percent of sexually active women always or usually achieved orgasm, and that the youngest and oldest women reported the highest frequency of orgasm satisfaction.
Forty percent of the women in the study said they never or almost never felt sexual desire, and one-third of sexually active women reported low sexual desire, according to the study in the January issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
"Despite a correlation between sexual desire and other sexual function domains, only one in five sexually active women reported high sexual desire," lead investigator Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, chief of the division of epidemiology at the UCSD School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.
"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," Barrett-Connor said.
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