Sexual Activities Continue After Menopause

Jocalyn P Clark, MSc

The National Council on the Aging in Washington, D.C. recently released the findings of its landmark study entitled Healthy Sexuality and Vital Aging.1 This unprecedented look at older people's sexuality will surely debunk many long-held views about the sexual lives of elderly North Americans. For one, older people appear to be both having sex and enjoying it. Over half of the older people in this study were found to have engaged in sexual activity within the last month, and 40% reported wanting sex more frequently. Only 4% wanted sex less often. Among those who were sexually active, over three-quarters said that maintaining an active sex life is an important aspect of their relationship with their partners. In addition, more than 70% said they were as satisfied or more sexually satisfied than they were in their 40s.

"Healthy sexuality among older women should serve as a benchmark of general health, and assessments of sexual wellness in clinical examination by the practitioner may help diagnose barriers to sexuality."

The findings of The National Council's study provide valuable insight into the sexuality and sexual needs of older women.