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Study Finds High Rate of Sexual Satisfaction in Women Over 80

Frequency or lack of sex is not a significant factor

An older woman can be satisfied with her sex life even if she's not having sex, according to a new survey.

See also: 5 myths about sex and aging.

The survey of more than 800 older women in Southern California, ages 40 to 100, found that those under 55 and those over 80 were most likely to say they were satisfied with their sex lives.

couple-seniors enjoy sex more according to recent survey

Sexual desire may ebb with age, but older women are among the most satisfied with their love life. — Photo by Ebby May/Getty Images

About half of the women reported having sex in the past month, either with or without a partner. However, almost half of women who had not had sex in the past month also declared themselves satisfied with their sex lives.

The study, published this week in the American Journal of Medicine, asked the women to rate their levels of sexual desire and arousal, lubrication adequacy and pain during penetration, as well as how frequently they experience orgasm.

Among the study's findings:

  • Only one in five of the women who had engaged in sexual activity in the past month said they frequently felt a high level of sexual desire, while one-third reported low, very low or no sexual desire. Yet 67.5 percent said they were moderately or very satisfied with their sex life.
  • The frequency of arousal, lubrication and orgasm decreased with age. However, those under 55 and those over 80 reported a higher frequency of orgasm satisfaction.
  • Almost half of sexually inactive women said they were moderately or very satisfied with their sex lives.

The results, say the study's authors, show that sexual desire did not precede sexual arousal, suggesting women engage in sexual activity for multiple reasons, including "nurture, affirmation or sustenance of a relationship."

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