Many of my peri- and postmenopausal patients believe diminishing sexual interest, drive, and enjoyment is a normal part of human aging. In fact, they’ve accepted it — which is why they’re so shocked when I tell them this is nothing more than a myth.

Why do so many women believe sex is only for the young? Well, there are many reasons.

Postmenopausal sex is a taboo subject, and it’s not discussed as much as it deserves to be. There also isn’t nearly enough funding for women’s health research. Women’s Health Initiative was a landmark study, but it fell short of collecting exhaustive data. (More on the shortcomings of the WHI in an upcoming post.)

The sore lack of research and a societal aversion to transparent conversations has led to rampant misinformation about women’s sexual health. It’s something I as a physician strive to change, starting with my individual patients.

The truth is, women can and should have fulfilling sexual lives well into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. There are many ways we can support our sexual health as we age, and we’ll discuss some of them in this post — but first, we’ll explore the significant health benefits of maintaining your sexual health throughout your healthspan.

Infographic: Common Myths About Women's Sexual Health You Should Stop Believing

The Benefits of Supporting You or Your Partner’s Sexual Health


Our relationships do wonders for our overall happiness and quality of life, and a healthy sexual relationship is no different. Physical intimacy solidifies the bond you share with your partner.

Intercourse facilitates the synthesis and release of a cascade of hormones, including oxytocin and DHEA, which play an important role in bonding. It’s a deep feeling that’s difficult to quantify, but one we all recognize.


Studies have demonstrated that sexually mindful women have better self-esteem and tend to be more satisfied with their relationships.

Pain Relief

Sex releases endorphins, which help with pain reduction. Not only is preexisting physical pain subjectively less intense during intercourse, but the endorphins released via orgasm can reduce stress and alleviate pain.


The hormones released during sex have also been shown to improve sleep. When you improve your sleep, other aspects of your health are impacted, such as your immune function, cardiovascular health, and mood.

For example, some studies have shown a 30% increase in IGA antibodies in sexually active people versus the abstinent control group.

Breast Cancer Risk Reduction

There’s even a study that demonstrates a risk reduction for breast cancer in women who had sex once a month versus women who didn’t.

Ways to Support Our Sexual Health as We Age

Generally speaking, women experience a decline in interest, drive, and enjoyment of sex during perimenopause and postmenopause due to estrogen loss. Hormone replacement therapy is the primary way we can address this.

In fact, this was the norm in the early 2000s, when one in four women was receiving hormone replacement therapy. But the medical community has since stopped using this therapy regularly, and today, only about 4% of women are receiving hormone replacement.

We should reconsider using this therapy for individuals who are a good fit. Of course, we need to take factors like clotting disorders and stroke risk into account, but that aside, hormones can generally be a good solution for many women.

Other ways to support women’s sexual health include exercise, diet, and carefully chosen supplements. Regular exercise boosts libido. Fruits such as apples, watermelon, and cacao have been linked to enhanced vascular and sexual health. Soy and low-salt diets also help.

The biggest point I want to drive home today is that, as a woman, you are entitled to a vibrant, fulfilling sexual life no matter your age. While it’s common to experience decreased interest, drive, and enjoyment, it’s not a permanent situation, and you don’t need to resign yourself to it.

Talk to your doctor or therapist about the challenges you’re facing. There are solutions available to you, and we’re here to help.

Quote: Common Myths About Women's Sexual Health You Should Stop Believing

Today’s Takeaways

  1. The decline in sexual interest, drive, and enjoyment as you age is due to a natural loss of estrogen — but you don’t have to accept it.
  2. Depending on your individual risk factors, hormone replacement therapy may be a great option for you.
  3. Every woman, regardless of life stage, deserves a full, healthy, satisfying sexual life.