Sept. 23, 2009 -- Thank Carrie Bradshaw and her friends on Sex and the City or the women from Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives, because when it comes to sex, women over 35 seem to be having all the fun.
A new online survey of 500 women aged 35 to 49 showed that 76% of women are interested in maintaining a healthy sex life and almost 50% say they initiate sex with their partner. What's more, 35% say sex -- like wine -- gets better with age, and half of the women surveyed said that they have sex once a week or more. The new survey was sponsored by Teva Women's Health, the manufacturer of the ParaGard Intrauterine Copper Contraceptive.
"Women in this age group are so often chalked up as soccer moms and cast as not having a libido, so the fact that so many of them are 'going for it' is really contrary to what people believe," says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, MS Ed, a sexologist who is completing her fellowship in sexual and reproductive health at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík.
Myths abound about sex and women of a certain age, she says. "They are thought to just have vanilla sex, be too busy for sex, or not pursue their partners, but women aged 35 and older are interested."
Why the sexual surge?
This sexual surge occurs when women hit 35 because they feel more connected to their partner, "She knows her partner's body better and he knows hers," she says. "She is more secure and has newfound respect for her body especially if she has given birth."
Or maybe they find themselves suddenly single. "Some women may be experiencing a sexual rejuvenation because they are re-entering the dating pool after getting out of a bad relationship," Fulbright says.
Television shows portraying women over 35 as sexy and sexual may have also helped women embrace their sexuality.
Whatever the reason, keeping the spark alive is important for all relationships, she says. "Make sure you set a regular sex date, but it should not be routine. Avoid the same old, same old."
Make time for your partner inside the bedroom and out. "Do new and different things together to encourage bonding," Fulbright says. This type of togetherness will have dividends in the bedroom.
Keeping things spicy is a 24-hour job. "Kiss your partner before work and before bed, and make little gestures like sending sexy emails to let your partner know you still desire them."
One of the side effects of all this fooling around is unplanned pregnancy, says Shari Brasner, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Growing numbers of women want to have a healthy sex life and spontaneity is a part of it."
The new survey found that a majority of women think they are fertile into their early 50s, yet 25% of these women don't see the need for using birth control. "This is a complete disconnect," she says.
Brasner points out that 51% of pregnancies among women in their 40s are unplanned. "That is second only to teens," she says.