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Women who have sex more frequently may hit menopause later

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The age at which women hit menopause is affected by how often they have sex when as they get older, according to a UK and Chinese study. The researchers looked at data from 2,936 US women, and found those who reported weekly sex were more than a quarter less likely to be menopausal than those who had sex less than once a month. The authors suggest the bodies of women who are not very sexually active divert energy away from ovulation, so it can be used elsewhere, such as into helping look after existing children or grandchildren.

Journal/conference: Royal Society Open Science

DOI: 10.1098/rsos.191020

Organisation/s: University College London, UK

Funder: ESRC-BBSRC Soc-B Centre for Doctoral Training, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), DHHS, through the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH).

Media Release

From: The Royal Society

Menopause - Sexual frequency is associated with age of natural menopause: results from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation

Age of menopause varies cross-culturally, and sexual behaviour may play a role in that. We hypothesise that, should you have little/infrequent sex when approaching the menopause, the body will not receive cues of a possible pregnancy, and therefore will stop investing energy into ovulation so that it can be diverted elsewhere, such as into helping look after existing children or grandchildren. Using data from the United States, we find support for this hypothesis, with women who have sex weekly being 28% less likely to experience menopause than those who have sex monthly. 

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