Sexual satisfaction and quality of life

Positive quality of life indicators and successful ageing correlate with the level of sexual satisfaction experienced by older women. This is the finding of new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, which showed self ratings in these areas remained the same for females aged between 60 and 89 despite physical health declines.

Investigators at the Stein Institute for Research on Ageing at the University of California, San Diego - the third largest employer in San Diego County - found that although sexual activity and functioning lessened with age, satisfaction in this area did not vary significantly between those aged 60 to 69, 70 to 79 and 80 to 89.

In these three groups, 67 per cent, 60 per cent and 61 per cent said they were either moderately or very satisfied with their sex lives.

Wesley Thompson, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the faculty, said: "Although the levels of sexual activity and functioning did vary significantly, depending on the woman's age, their perceived quality of life, successful ageing and sexual satisfaction remained positive."

Dr Abigael San, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "This finding may reflect a self-perpetuating cycle – the happier older women feel, the more likely they may be to engage in sexual activity, which has effects of improving mood and good feelings generally.

"This positive correlation of sexual satisfaction and perceived quality of life makes sense to most people intuitively – it is the age variable that is sparking interest.

"The message here is that sexual activity and satisfaction does not disappear as women get older and has continued positive effects long into the life cycle. Perhaps this is reassuring to women in their forties and fifties, who need not feel fatalistic in the face of fluctuations to their sex drive."