You’re never too old! A quarter of middle-aged women say sex is still ‘highly important’ to them

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Hitting midlife can still turn up the heat among women – in ways many might not expect.

It’s not just the onset of hot flushes with the menopause – but the fire of passion burning brightly.

Thousands of women aged 45 to 60 were quizzed about their feelings on intimacy in the bedroom… or elsewhere for that matter. 

Hitting midlife can still turn up the heat among women – in ways many might not expect. It’s not just the onset of hot flushes with the menopause – but the fire of passion burning brightly [File photo]

Hitting midlife can still turn up the heat among women – in ways many might not expect. It’s not just the onset of hot flushes with the menopause – but the fire of passion burning brightly [File photo]

And rather than feeling like the flames of desire had long since gone out, more than a quarter said sex was ‘highly important’ when they got to middle age.

Not only that, it continued to matter as they headed into their senior years. They were also more likely to have better sexual satisfaction with their partners.

Meanwhile nearly half of those in the study told how sex was important during midlife although the buzz faded after 60.

The reactions of the 3,200 women interviewed about how their interest in sex was affected throughout the menopause echoed those of Davina McCall this month. 

Flirty signs your date’s keen on you

Are you the kind of single chap who struggles to tell if your date likes your jokes – or can’t wait to head for the exit door?

Luckily for you, researchers think they’ve identified the look a woman gives when she’s interested in a man.

They cracked the ‘perfect flirting face’, used by women to demonstrate sexual interest. 

The facial cues include a head turned to one side and slightly tilted down, a smile and eyes turned towards the implied target, the study published in the Journal of Sex Research found.

And these expressions are most likely to activate associations with relationships and sex in male brains. Lead author Omri Gillath, of Kansas University, said: ‘Not only were we able to identify the expressions that represent flirting, but we were also able to reveal their function.’

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The TV presenter, 52, rejected the notion that women’s sex lives are ended by the change, insisting she still wants to be ‘naughty’ and women can still enjoy intimacy as they age.

She added: ‘People say, ‘Oh, it’s all gone… menopause… you’re finished’. It’s really important to say that people in their 50s are having the time of their lives.’ 

Scientists say studies like this are important in understanding the needs of women as they age.

Lead author Dr Holly Thomas said: ‘In contrast to prior literature reporting that the importance of sex decreases as women move through midlife, we found that, for a quarter of women, sex remains highly important.’

And rather than feeling like the flames of desire had long since gone out, more than a quarter said sex was ‘highly important’ when they got to middle age. Not only that, it continued to matter as they headed into their senior years [File photo]

And rather than feeling like the flames of desire had long since gone out, more than a quarter said sex was ‘highly important’ when they got to middle age. Not only that, it continued to matter as they headed into their senior years [File photo]

From an ethnic perspective, black women were more likely to rate sex as important for the duration of midlife.

However, Chinese and Japanese women said more often that it did not matter or that intimacy became less important.

Other variables included women with symptoms of depression, who were more likely to rate sex as mattering less to them.

The results from the University of Pittsburgh study will be presented today during the virtual annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

Medical director Dr Stephanie Faubion said waning sexual desire was often dismissed as a natural part of ageing.

But she added: ‘Often there are other treatable reasons, such as depression.’

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