Health Watch: The Aging Love Life
By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Forty years of research is turning conventional wisdom on its head when it comes to the issue of women and sex. The experts say it gets better with age.
“Your husband wants it and you kind of go along with it,” said Susan Courtney, who is 56-years-old. Sex was never really at the top of her priority list.
“You’re running around and car pooling,” said Susan. But now that this mom is in her 50’s, her feelings towards sex have drastically changed.
“I look forward to it more,” said Susan. She isn’t the only woman whose sex life is getting better with age, according to a new study from the University of California.
“This is not a part of your life that shuts down,” said Bat Sheva Marcus, a Sexual Dysfunction Specialist.
The study followed 800 women over forty years, and looked at all aspects of their sex lives from desire to frequency. The majority say they had increased sexual satisfaction as they aged – findings that come as no surprise to Marcus.
“What irritates me is we as a society think, ‘Oh, sex only lasts until your 29 and you know after that, it’s just going to be downhill from there,’” said Marcus. She says there are so many stereotypes when it comes to women and sex, like women are rarely ‘in the mood’ especially as they age and have to deal with physical changes, like menopause.
“I think that’s a horrible myth,” said Marcus. She says there are several reasons why mature women have better sex.
“There’s less guilt. There’s less distraction as your kids get older. There’s more emotional stability,” said Marcus.
Ann Karrick, who’s in her forties, says so many aspects of life improve with age, why not sex too?
“If you know yourself better, almost everything I think becomes better,” said Ann.
Ultimately Marcus says most women with more life experience have no problem asking for what they want.
“There’s nothing embarrassing about a 65-year-old woman who wants to have a vibrant sex life,” said Marcus.
Susan says she’s looking forward to being one of them.
“I don’t see myself as getting to be an aged person, who can’t be sexual. I don’t see that,” said Susan.
Some experts say sex lives get better because older women also have more time to feel good about themselves, in a way they didn’t have when they were 30.