As women age, sexual function continues to serve as a key measure of quality of life, particularly for those in partnered relationships. Despite this, women often experience a number of concerns including diminished sexual interest and painful intercourse, according to a recent study.
The findings were presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2016 Annual Meeting.
Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, of the division of behavioral medicine and the departments of reproductive biology and psychiatry at Case Medical Center MacDonald Women’s Hospital and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, and Leah Millheiser, MD, of Nuelle, Inc, in Mountain View, California, conducted a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey of menopause-aged women with sexual concerns.
A convenience sample of 505 women aged older than 40 years in current, partnered relationships participated in a 50-question self-administered questionnaire that collected data on sociodemographic status, sexual health concerns, help-seeking motivation, and the impact of their sexual concerns on both relationship quality and sexual intimacy.
The majority of respondents (75%) were aged 40 to59 years and had been in a relationship for at least 10 years. The researchers found that the 2 most common sexual concerns across all age groups (40-59 years and 60-75 years or older) were diminished or no sexual interest and diminished or inadequate vaginal lubrication. The majority of women surveyed agreed that sexual activity was important to their overall quality of life; however, 61% of respondents indicated that they engaged in sexual activity less than once a month. Additional data showed that, despite concerns, 52% of survey respondents had not discussed their sexual concerns with their health care providers.
“This survey sheds light on how women feel about the impact of sexual health concerns on their overall quality of life,” Dr Kingsberg said in a press release. “Although the women in this study felt that their sexual satisfaction could improve, the majority remained happy with the quality of their partnered relationships, demonstrating that sex may become less of a determinant of overall relationship satisfaction over time.”
Disclosures: Funding for this study was provided by Nuelle, Inc/Fiera®. Dr Kingsberg reports relationships with Acerus Pharmaceuticals, Emotional Brain, Nuelle, Inc, Palatin Technologies, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.
- Kingsberg S, Millheiser L. Abstract P-38. Mature women’s attitudes about the impact of sexual concerns on relationship and sexual satisfaction. Presented at: North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2016 Annual Meeting; October 5-8, 2016; Orlando, FL.
- New study shows women’s changing attitudes about sex as they age [press release]. Cleveland, OH: North American Menopause Society Press Room; October 5, 2016. http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/2016-docs/women’s-attitudes-about-sex-change-with-age-9-22-16-km.pdf. Accessed October 5, 2016.