Half of menopausal women settle for less sex, poll reveals

More than half of US women aged 35 and over are having less sex during the menopause than before. In addition, 76% of those in a committed or long-term relationship said that sex was an important part of their relationship, yet just 45% were satisfied with the amount of sex they have.

“Women today, specifically the boomer generation currently entering or experiencing menopause, are much more open about their needs and seek information more than previous generations, so it’s surprising to me that so many women would settle for a less than satisfying sex life as a result of menopausal symptoms,” said Karen Giblin, founder of the Red Hot Mamas Menopause Management Educational Programs.

The “Sex and Menopause Survey” also found:

  • 75% of women who experienced vaginal atrophy (vaginal narrowing or shrinkage), said they had less sex since entering menopause, with 68% experiencing pain during active sex.
  • 88% said their symptoms were problematic.
  • 47% had avoided, made excuses, or stopped having sex altogether because of physical discomfort.

“If left untreated, over time, women will experience changes such as vaginal atrophy and dryness that can make physical intimacy uncomfortable, even painful. But they do not need to give up on sex altogether,” stated Murray A. Freedman, M.D., Augusta GYN, P.C., Augusta, GA. “Sadly, most women are unaware that these conditions are treatable. Effective therapies, which range from over-the-counter lubricants to FDA approved hormone therapy, are readily available. Equally important is the effect of continued sexual activity. While it may seem like reverse logic, having intercourse can help ease the severity of vaginal atrophy.”

That is good news for the partners of those in a relationship. More than one-third (36%) of those surveyed in a committed relationship who reported a decrease in the frequency of sexual relations said that their partners are upset with the decrease in frequency. Sixty percent of those polled reported openly discussing the symptoms of menopause with their partners and 67 percent say their partners understand about the impact of menopause on their lives. That, however, is not the case with women who reported a decrease in sexual activity. Less then half (46%) have discussed the decrease in frequency of sex with anyone, including their partner.

The survey results also show some good news; women are seeking more information on menopause. Eighty-four percent of those polled use some resource – healthcare professionals, media and the internet – to obtain information on menopause, its symptoms and treatment options. Whether they are getting the right information is another story.

“Given that less than half of those polled consider themselves very knowledgeable on any of the common symptoms of menopause (including night sweats, hot flashes, etc.) and only 35 percent consider themselves very knowledgeable or knowledgeable about hormone therapy as a treatment option more education is clearly necessary,” said Karen Giblin, founder of the Red Hot Mamas Menopause Management Educational Programs.