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In the 2015 nationally representative, cross-sectional Study of Midlife Development in the United States, 2,116 women age 28-84 years answered questions regarding their sexual activity.Although the proportion of women who were sexually active decreased with age, 59% of women aged 60 reported being sexually active in the previous 6 months.Romantic partner status was the most strongly associated factor with being sexually active, regardless of age.Similarly, in another cross-sectional study of 1,977 women aged 45-80, 60% reported being sexually active in the previous 3 months.Intimacy and sexual expression are normal human needs.In the past, as men and women matured, they relied on spouses or long-term partners to satisfy these needs.If these women do not know what constitutes risky dating behavior (RDB)/ risky sexual behavior (RSB) or how to practice safer sex, they may be in danger of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs).In this article, the authors provide an update on STIs among women aged 50 , discuss sexual attitudes and beliefs among women in this age group that may lead to RDB/RSB, and issue a call to action for healthcare providers (HCPs) to address the sexual health of older women, particularly with regard to discussing safer sex practices.
Thinner vaginal tissues and a reduced amount of vaginal lubrication may lead to abrasions or tears during sex that increase the chance that HIV will enter the bloodstream.
Failure to discuss these topics leaves many women in the dark about how to safely navigate new sexual relationships.
Studies show that a lower level of knowledge and risk perception for STI transmission can be linked to RSB, a reduction in the intent to use condoms during sexual encounters, and a lower level of testing for STIs.
In previous generations, there was a strongly held belief that women lose interest in sex after menopause.
This belief does not appear to persist today, as revealed by data from recent studies.