Sex After Menopause

What are they?
Most people believe that post-menopausal women have problems with sex. These difficulties may include lack of lubrication, difficulty in attaining orgasm, and low libido.

Are there really problems?
Surprisingly, a recent study indicates that post-menopausal women may actually find sex more enjoyable than previously. The study consisted of a telephone survey of 1,000 women aged 50 to 65. About 900 of the women had already passed menopause, and about half of the women were on hormone replacement therapy. 54% of the women said that they thought about sex more often that they did 10 years previously, and 43% percent said that their libido was as strong as it was when they were in their 30s.

Why do they think that sex is better now?
Many women surveyed believed it was due to less childrearing responsibilities and less fear of unintended pregnancy. Another factor may be hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 82% of the women on HRT said their sex lives have either remained the same or improved since menopause, compared to 69% of women who were not on HRT reporting the same feeling.

Can Viagra help?
Although this information may be comforting, it is still obvious that many women do experience a decline in sexual function after they reach menopause. Men have Viagra to help them through sexual dysfunction. Can it work for women also? Another study conducted in New York and Brazil claims that Viagra did not significantly improve sexual function in post-menopausal women. This study involved 33 post-menopausal women who reported trouble with sex over a period of six months. These women took 50 milligrams of Viagra (the usual dose for men) one hour before sexual activity for 3 months. At the end of the study, only 20% of the women had experienced significant improvement in sexual function. 31.3% reported improved clitoral stimulation, 23.2% reported improved lubrication, and 7.4% reported increased orgasms. According to the researchers, these results are not statistically significant, and may have occurred by chance. One flaw in this study, though, is that such a small number of women were followed. It is possible that if more women are included in this kind of study that the results may be more marked.

What to Do
Current research would seem to indicate that if you find that you are experiencing sexual difficulties after menopause that you should probably pursue hormone replacement therapy, rather than Viagra. Viagra's effectiveness in women has not been demonstrated, whereas the effectiveness of HRT has. HRT also has many other health benefits, which Viagra does not.

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