Stresses of modern life affect middle-aged women’s sex lives more than menopause, study says
- Few women associated menopause with the frequency or quality of their sexual activity
- Women’s lives were so busy that they had little time or energy for a sex life
The stresses of modern life affect middle-aged women’s sex lives more than menopause, suggests new research published in the Journal of Sex Research.
The study of more than 2,000 women found that very few women associated their menopause with a reduction in the frequency or quality of their sexual activity.
Instead, women claimed that the weight of pressure placed on middle-aged women made them so busy that they left little time or energy to enjoy a regular and fulfilling sex life, News Medical reported.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University of Glasgow and UCL interviewed women who noticed how heavy their hectic schedules and the challenges of reconciling family, work and social life had for them.
They talked about the financial and relationship problems, concerns about family members and the simultaneous demands of children and aging parents, both of whom needed practical help and emotional support and did little to reduce workload or stress.
The study of more than 2,000 women published in the Journal of Sex Research found that very few women linked their menopause to a reduction in the frequency or quality of their sexual activity (stock image)
The study found that women’s lives were so busy that they had little time or energy left to enjoy a regular and satisfying sex life.
Of the more than 2,000 women between the ages of 40 and 59 interviewed, a third had not had sex in the past month and less than half were dissatisfied with their sex life.
The study concluded that age and menopausal status were less significant in determining levels of sexual satisfaction, function and frequency than relationship and lifestyle factors and health status.
Kaye Wellings, lead author and professor of sexual and reproductive health research at LSHTM, said: ‘Few studies have taken women’s views into account when trying to understand the range of factors that influence middle-aged sexual experience.
“The drop in frequency must be seen in the context of societal changes and individual circumstances.”
She highlighted the impact of the “dual care duties” faced by middle-aged women, as they are often responsible for caring for children and parents.
Kaye added: ‘Middle-aged women today are often referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ – they have married and had children later than previous generations, they work and they can support dependent children as well as elderly parents, while potentially coping with emerging health issues .’
The study was conducted in the hope that the findings would reassure women during this period of their lives.
The said author said: “Frequency of sex has little association with sex life satisfaction, suggesting that intimacy may be a more important factor in determining sexual well-being – a message that health professionals can beneficially convey to women.”