While young women may be more sexually active than their older counterparts, that does not necessarily mean they're enjoying sex just as much. As it turns out, the frequency may be no replacement for years of experience. A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that several women ages 45 to 60 who were interviewed reported positive changes in their level of sexual satisfaction compared to when they were younger. And it's really not that surprising if you think about it.
"It is widely thought that women don't care about sex as much as men do, particularly older women," says Dr. Laura Berman, a nationally renowned sex therapist and New York Times best-selling author of Real Sex for Real Women. "However, that is far from the truth. As this study and others like it prove, women don't cease to enjoy sex simply because they are middle-aged and beyond. In fact, this is when sexual pleasure can really evolve into something fantastic."
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Dr. Laura Berman is a nationally known sex and relationship expert and host of In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In a different study by psychologist David Buss, it was found that women ages 27 through 45 have more sexual fantasies and sex than women ages 18 through 26. Those aged 27 through 45 are also more willing to have casual sex, including one night stands. So no, it's not only the crazy college kids having all the fun!
Berman points to fewer inhibitions inside and outside the bedroom, more knowledge about their bodies, and a desire to communicate more openly with their partners as potential reasons behind the finding that several women age 45 to 60 enjoy sex more now than when they were younger, even though they're not having sex as frequently. But despite this newfound sexual freedom, she does acknowledge the sexual challenges that middle age can present.
"The reality is that aging can present unique challenges such as dryness and discomfort," she says. "And, while there are 24 drugs on the market that are approved for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, it wasn't until Addyi was released that women had a similar option. So we definitely need for the medical community to catch up with this need and let go of the misconception that older women don’t care about sex."
So at what age do women enjoy sex the most? There's no way to say for sure, as this simply varies person to person, but as this University of Pittsburgh study indicates, there may be something to be said for experience. Some things just get better with age, after all.
Thomas HN, Hamm M, Hess R, Thurston RC. Changes in Sexual Function Among Midlife Women: "I'm Older… and I'm Wiser". Menopause. 2018;25(3):286-292. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000988
Easton JA, Confer JC, Goetz CD, Buss DM. Reproduction Expediting: Sexual Motivations, Fantasies, and the Ticking Biological Clock. Personality and Individual Differences. October 2010;49(5):516-520. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.018