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November 22, 2007

Women Over 55 Enjoying Sex - That Makes for a Happy Thanksgiving


U.S. women ages 55 and older are enjoying sex more than women the same age a decade ago, suggests a survey released Sunday. But satisfaction had dipped for women 35 to 54, according to a similar study.

Older women also say they're putting more thought and effort into their sex life, compared with women the same age in the mid-'90s, says Natalia Gavrilova of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The biggest change was reported by those in their mid-60s to mid-70s, according to Gavrilova and co-author Stacy Tessler Lindau.

The survey on older women was reported at the Gerontological Society of America meeting in San Francisco. It's part of a larger, ongoing study of midlife changes.

Researchers compared responses in the mid-'90s from 725 women ages 35 to 54 and 507 who were 55 to 74 years old with responses by more than 400 women in each age bracket from the same survey done in 2004 and 2005.

The rising satisfaction and interest of older women doesn't surprise Eli Coleman, director of the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. "They are empowered women," and they want to remain that way, he says.

Aging women consider themselves younger than did women of earlier times, Gavrilova says. Also, cultural changes have made them more open about their sexual needs and more interested in health, with sex seen as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Although the differences over 10 years aren't huge, they are significant and consistent, pointing to less fulfilling sex for women in middle age and more pleasure for older women, she says.

"There's more permission in society for my generation of boomer women to be sexual," says Aline Zoldbrod, a psychologist and sex therapist in Lexington, Mass. "I'm 59, and I look very different from my mother at that age. I'm younger looking and younger acting, and I still see myself as a sexual person."

So let's keep on doing what we're doing.  We are raising the bar for the generations that will follow. 

Cheers and enjoy your Thanksgiving.


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