Older women remain sexually active beyond their seventh decade of life, a new study has found.
The study suggested that at least one in seven women aged 65 to 79 years has hypoactive sexual desire dysfunction (HSDD).
Although HSDD was found to be more common in women with partners, the study confirmed that unpartnered older women are still sexually active and may be distressed by low sexual desire.
For the study, published in the journal Menopause, the researchers took more than 1,500 women and assessed their sexual function and sexual distress.
The group consisted of 52.6 per cent partnered women, with a mean age of 71 years. Within this group, 88 per cent were found to have low sexual desire, 15.5 per cent had sexually related personal distress and 13.6 per cent had HSDD, which is defined as the presence of both low sexual desire and sexually related personal distress.
Independent factors included vaginal dryness during intercourse in the past month, having moderate to severe depressive symptoms, and having symptomatic pelvic floor dysfunction.
“This study demonstrates that healthcare providers need to have honest and open discussions with their patients as they age with regard to desire, mood, vaginal dryness, and pelvic floor issues to determine whether these factors are affecting a woman’s desire or ability to be sexual,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, Executive Director of the North American Medical Society.