Importance of Sex Tied to Maintaining Sex Life in Midlife

Those placing greater importance on sex more likely to maintain sexual activity

FRIDAY, Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most middle-aged women who are sexually active remain sexually active, according to a research letter published online Feb. 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Holly N. Thomas, M.D., from University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues studied women participating in Do Stage Transitions Result in Detectable Effects study. Participants completed annual questionnaires regarding demographic variables, menopausal status and symptoms, and medical comorbidities, as well as the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) every four years of the study (602 women). Self-reports were used to ascertain menopausal status, while body mass index and medications were extracted from electronic health records.

The researchers found that at year four (baseline) of the study 354 women (66.3 percent) were sexually active. Of these, 85.4 percent (228 women) remained sexually active at year eight. Sexually active women at baseline tended to be younger, white, highly educated, partnered, and earlier in the menopausal transition. Significant predictors of maintenance of sexual activity were white race (odds ratio [OR], 3.09; P = 0.04), lower body mass index (OR, 0.94; P = 0.02), and higher importance of sex (OR, 3.21; P = 0.01).

"The FSFI's focus on intercourse may not accurately reflect what constitutes satisfying sex in this population, yielding falsely low scores," the authors write.

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