A recent study in the UK concluded that middle-aged women are more sexually satisfied than their male counterparts. As a marriage and family therapist who is often asked about sexuality, I was intrigued by this finding and decided to do some research of my own. Here’s what I found.
Mary Clegg, who is a sex and relationship psychotherapist and the chair of the British Association of Sexual Education (BASE) said, ”This research points to a number of interesting findings. Firstly, that levels of sexual satisfaction appear to be related to expectations and it seems that UK women are easily pleased in their later years — or at least become easier to please than their husbands as time goes by.”
According to what I’ve heard from my own clients, I would think the finding has something to do with the fact that women tend to be more verbal than men and as they mature, women are more able to ask for what they want and are more open about what gives them pleasure. For some reason, men have a more difficult time telling women what they enjoy sexually.
Other experts warn women not to take their partners’ lack of sexual interest as a sign of “slowing down.” Rather, it could be an indication of an underlying health condition with serious implications. They say a lack of sex drive and weak erections are key symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS), a condition which may affect up to two percent of men over 40. It is caused by low testosterone and often linked to diabetes, heart disease, depression and weight gain.
When I hear about a low sex drive or decreased libido, I always recommend a check up by the PCP (primary care physician) for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is a SE (side effect) of depression and of several medications, including antidepressants. Furthermore, TDS can be ruled out through a simple blood test and clinical assessment by the PCP.
Dr. David Edwards, a specialist in sexual dysfunction and president of the British Society for Sexual Medicine said, ”It is well known that women are much more likely than men to go to the doctor themselves and/or on behalf of their partners, so the fact that so few do when their men are showing signs of TDS is worrying. Women have a vital role in helping their men to confront embarrassing conditions which may have serious consequences if undiagnosed.”
He continued, ”We want many more women to understand that sexual dysfunction is not just a lifestyle condition and that seeking medical advice when symptoms have persisted for a while is important. There is now a wealth of evidence illustrating that early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can reverse TDS symptoms in a man and improve his overall health, diabetes and heart disease risk. We must break down barriers to diagnosis and increase awareness so men and their partners don’t have to suffer in silence.”
I’ve noticed women often feel too embarrassed to raise the issue with their partner or blame it on weight gain, which turns into lowered self-esteem contributing to loss of desire. As a result, these women tend to lower their expectations and attribute changes to normal male aging. So, what starts out as being all in their thinking, turns into avoidance and eventually ISD (inhibited sexual desire). All of this is so easily avoided with a little education.
How middle-aged men can become more sexually satisfied:
1. Become more verbal. Since your female counterparts are more able to ask for what they want and are often more open about what gives them pleasure, why not open up more yourself? She might say “Oh, sorry — that’s not for me,” then talk together about what could be mutually agreeable for both of you.
2. Find something that is equally satisfying for both of you. Sex is largely a state of mind. If you get disappointed your partner refuses to contort herself into a pretzel when that’s the one thing you’d love, I’ll bet you can both come up with something equally satisfying sans pain and discomfort. An added benefit is with more open communication, your lady will be that much more receptive to you during sex play.
3. Become comfortable with your intimacy. Maybe it’s just that middle-aged women have come into their own, blossomed; having been through many trials and tribulations. They’ve gained confidence in their wisdom and don’t suffer from performance anxiety; they’ve become comfortable with intimacy and they’ve realized how short life is — it’s time to enjoy the journey!
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