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Health & Sex

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Sex in Menopause City

Study: Sexual Dysfunction in Women Is Not Automatic as Years Pass


Among the few differences in the groups: Women over 45 reported having fewer orgasms during non-intercourse sexual activity or during masturbation. Both groups of women reported a dual dimension necessary for successful lovemaking that included having both feelings of emotional closeness to their partner and satisfactory physical experiences.

After comparing all the answers from both older and younger women, as well as from women who reported sexual problems and those who did not, researchers concluded that the single most influential factor with regard to sexual satisfaction via intercourse was the quality of the partnership, in particular the quality of mutual respect, which then becomes of greater importance as a woman ages.

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 too long.

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.

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