Sex in Menopause City
Study: Sexual Dysfunction in Women Is Not Automatic as Years Pass
After comparing these study results to earlier and ongoing findings, the
researchers concluded that the basis of any sexual problems that did occur at
midlife could not be drawn from menopause status or age alone. Instead, they
write, "Life stressors, contextual factors, past sexuality, and mental
health problems are more significant predictors of midlife women's sexual
interest than menopause status itself."
The study was one of just several research papers presented in the journal
this month on the subject of female sexual dysfunction. All strived to shed
much needed light on a subject that some believe has been hidden in the shadows
For NYU professor of gynecology Steven Goldstein, MD, the findings validate
what he has long suspected to be true.
"It's quite wonderful that this is being studied and that the results
reinforce what I, and I think many doctors have long believed -- that this
whole issue of changes in midlife sexual function is not a simple case of 'take
away the hormones, take away the desire,'" Goldstein tells WebMD.
Moreover, he adds that "As we go forward, understanding all of the
complex, non-hormonal elements that affect a woman's sexuality remains crucial,
particularly when deciding who is a candidate for a hormonal treatment that
might help increase desire and who might benefit more from simple lifestyle
changes," says Goldstein.
Hormones and Your Sexual Thunder
Indeed, many experts contend it is no small coincidence that much of the
attention now focused on female sexual dysfunction is fueled by the pending FDA
approval of a testosterone patch, a hormone treatment that, along with
estrogen, is believed to influence sexual desire in some women.
The fact that hormone levels decline as a woman ages further energizes the
suggestion that replacing dwindling hormones is the road to postmenopausal
And though testosterone, alone or with estrogen supplements, may prove
helpful for some women, even some doctors involved in the testing of the new
patch believe, as this new study indicates, that it will not be the panacea for
all women experiencing sexual difficulties.
"You can have a woman with low testosterone switch to a new partner and
suddenly her libido is just fine, or you can have a woman with great
testosterone levels who is in a lousy relationship, or who is suffering from
depression, and her desire is basically blotto," says endocrinologist Glenn
D. Braunstein, MD, chairman of the department of medicine at Cedars Sinai
Medical Center in Los Angeles and a prominent researcher involved in the recent
clinical trials of the testosterone patch.
In the end, says Braunstein, the new sex study is valid, and he agrees that
sexual dysfunction in women is "a multi-factorial issue" involving not
only hormones, but also a host of other factors, including depression, a bad
relationship, side effects of medication, and numerous life and job