On the one hand, it is a predisposition, but it is clear that women can delay the onset of menopause in a surprisingly pleasant way: through an active and satisfying sex life after the age of 40.
Among other things, two researchers from University College London (UCL) wanted to get to the heart of the question of why menopause tends to appear later in married women than in unmarried women. Will you go into menopause later because you have more sex?
How did the study go?
To find out, the team led by Megan Arno and Ruth Meese began collecting data on a large scale as early as 1996.1 For this purpose, about 3,000 American women over the age of 45 who had not yet gone through menopause and who had an average of two children were asked about their sexual activity over a ten-year period:
- How many times have you had sex?
- What are their preferences and practices?
At the same time, other factors such as estrogen levels, physical and mental health, education level and weight were measured.
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Any form of sex delays menopause
In the end, a relatively clear picture emerged: Women who had a regular sex life at least once a week were 28 percent less affected by early menopause than those who had sex with a partner less than once a month. It turned out to be completely irrelevant to the practice that was preferred: with or without penetration, oral sex or just naked cuddling – all kinds of erotic encounters seem to postpone menopause until later.
According to the researchers, this effect is strongest when women indulge their libido several times a week: their chances of reaching menopause only over the age of 52 (the average age defined in the study) are particularly high.
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The study of sex supports the novelty hypothesis
For Arnot and Mace, these results are an indication that the so-called “grandmother’s hypothesis” applies here. This states that in women who are not sexually active, the body releases signals early on to cut back on the energy depletion process of the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and menstruation. In this way, more resources should be made available to the youth who are already there. “This way, a woman can stay fit and healthy even at an older age and take care of her family,” says Arno. Socially, this is reflected in the fact that in almost all cultures the grandmother has always played a special role in the upbringing and care of grandchildren. A phenomenon that does not exist in the animal kingdom.
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Sex as an antidote to hot flashes
The study also reveals that a long marriage does not mean that sexual desire fades. Even couples who have been together for decades have more sex than singles of the same age. Even if further investigation into cause and effect is still needed, Arnot offers women practical advice: “Who can avoid the appearance of unpleasant accompanying symptoms?” [der Menopause, Anm. d. Red.] Like delaying hot flashes it is advised to try more sex.”