- As women age, they tend to have less sex.
- Psychological and social factors are implicated in this decrease in sexual desire.
Menopause is a major stage in a woman’s life, a period of hormonal disruption. Accompanied by more or less unpleasant side effects such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances or vaginal dryness, it also generally corresponds to the time when sexual intercourse is reduced.
In 2015, a study was published in the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics in North America She concluded that “ED increases with age and is very common in postmenopausal women.” Other research has shown that 42% of premenopausal women experience symptoms of impotence. Eight years later, their number increased to 88%.
What are the reasons for this decrease in sexual satisfaction? Studies have highlighted physiological factors associated with the onset of menopause: vaginal dryness and low estrogen levels can make sexual intercourse more difficult or less satisfying. However, these are not the only causes that have a significant impact on a woman’s libido or sexual life: psychological and social changes must also be taken into account.
These are the psychological and social factors that motivated the study published in menopause. Research from the University of Sussex in Brighton, University College London in the UK and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, shows that many women’s sex lives decline with age and are linked to some issues that scientists have neglected: those related to body image, self-confidence, perceived approval, stress, mood swings and relationship difficulties.
To carry out their work, the researchers relied on data from 4,418 women, aged 64 on average, who participated in the British Collaborative Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (UKCTOCS). About half of the women reported being sexually active at the start of the study, but a decrease in all aspects of sexual activity was observed over time. For example, they reported that their sexual activity was less frequent, less enjoyable, and more disturbing. The main cause of sexual inactivity remains the absence of a partner, often due to widowhood.
Other factors are often cited to explain the decrease in the frequency of intercourseAnd the Are (ranked in order of importance): Partner’s medical condition, impotence, women’s physical health problems, menopausal symptoms, and prescribed medications. As for decreased libido, many women reported that it is often due to difficulties in romantic relationships, in the logistics of organizing physical relationships, and the consequences of aging on their image and self-confidence.
Only 3% of participants described positive sexual experiences, and only 6% sought medical help to solve sexual problems.
For the authors, the findings “will have implications for clinical practice,” particularly in the management of women who report postmenopausal sexual dissatisfaction. According to them, in the medical community, “sexual difficulties are often underreported, unacknowledged, and abused.”
They also invite practitioners to discuss these aspects with postmenopausal patients in order to support their return to a better sexual life. “Open communication about sexuality, including desires, needs, and imbalances, is essential and will reduce barriers for women to discuss sexual function. Additional training on this topic [pour les praticiens de la santé] necessary to facilitate this process.”
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