The truth about mature women and sex
We seem to know plenty about men and their desires, but surprisingly little research has been done on female sexuality. Here’s what we know…
What’s a normal sex drive for women?
There’s no normal, even after the menopause, according to Iris Krasnow, the American author of Sex After… who interviewed women aged 20-90 about how sex and intimacy change throughout life.
She spoke to women in satisfied, committed relationships who weren’t having sex, and that was normal for them, and to women in their seventies and eighties who were “as giddy as teenagers”.
Read more: Tips and advice for sex after the menopause
Is desire the first step?
Apparently not. Research suggests that women’s sexual desire may not be that spontaneous after all but come after the encounter begins.
That doesn’t mean they have lacklustre libido, just that it takes the right context or trigger—wanting to be close, for example—for them to connect with their bodies.
Read more: Natural ways to boost your sex life
What causes low libido after menopause?
There are times when sexual desire refuses to kick in at all. That’s normal too. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily something we can pin on our hormones. Relationships, psychological or emotional factors are more likely to predict women’s desire for sex.
Sometimes physical issues linked to the menopause—such as discomfort or dryness—play a bigger part. However, a number of studies confirm that menopause doesn’t affect sexual desire, though pretty much everything else does, including medication (especially antidepressants, heart pills and anti-seizure drugs), low mood, long working hours, resentment towards your partner.
Tiredness and stress come top of the list.
Read more: How to get your sexual spark back
So what’s a girl to do?
Lifestyle changes can help. First get more sleep. Research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that women with sleep apnoea—when breathing repeatedly stops and starts—have higher rates of sexual dysfunction, while a US study found that women who have an extra hour of sleep are 14 percent more likely to have sex the next day.
And why not try mindfulness meditation? Research has found that mindfulness-based group therapy (non-judgemental present-moment awareness) significantly improved sexual desire in women. Keep things fresh—go to a hotel for a change—and make sure you make time for intimacy.
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