Will having more sex delay menopause?

Delayed menopause

According to the results of a 10-year study, women who have active sex lives may experience a delay of menopause.  The study from the UK’s University College, London, used data from almost 3,000 U.S. women who were interviewed about their sexual history beginning when they were 45 years old and had not yet reached menopause. The majority of the participants were either married or in a relationship, living with a partner. The questions asked included frequency of sex over the past six months and if it involved sexual intercourse, oral sex, sexual touching or caressing, or if they engaged in self-stimulation.

Studies on menopause

Results from the study found that women who reported weekly physical intimacy over a decade were almost 28% less likely to experience menopause than women who reported less-than-monthly sexual activity.

The average age when most women experience natural menopause is around ages 51-52. Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life and is defined as a woman who has not had a menstrual cycle for at least one year. Perimenopause is the term used to describe the years leading up to menopause.  During perimenopause, women may have changes in their periods, hot flashes, moodiness, and other symptoms, as the body produces less estrogen.

In existing menopause literature, there has been a trend showing married women experience menopause later.  It is not completely understood why women who have more sex would go through menopause at a later age than women who have less sex. Researchers with the study theorize perimenopausal women having fewer sexual encounters, which may be attributed to low libido.  It’s also been theorized that because ovulation requires a lot of energy, immune functioning can be impaired. Therefore, if a woman is not having frequent sex, then the body figures why to waste that energy in maintaining ovulatory function.

Benefits of frequent sex

Women who do have sex frequently likely will experience benefits from it compared to women who are not having frequent sex.  Women who go through menopause at a younger age may have more loss of bone increasing their risk for osteoporosis and poor cholesterol numbers, increasing the risk for heart disease.

When a woman goes through menopause can often be correlated to her family history – if her mother or sisters went through menopause later, there’s a good chance they will too. However, women who engage in and enjoy having frequent sex, are helping keep their vagina lubricated helping make sex more comfortable.  One reason why many postmenopausal women avoid sex is because of the pain and irritation associated with vaginal dryness.

The takeaway from this study is that both perimenopausal and menopausal women may want to keep an active sex life for as long as they can. It can be good for sexual health and their intimate relationship with their significant other.

Will having more sex delay menopause?
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Dr. David Samadi

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Dr. David Samadi