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But is it reasonable for women over 50 to expect the same level of sexual satisfaction and drive as a 25-year-old? On one level, just asking these questions represents progress.In Victorian times, for example, doctors routinely warned midlife women to abstain because intercourse past menopause could be fatal.We fantasized about that empty nest and the chance to have spontaneous sex on a weekend afternoon without threat of interruption.Instead, many women say that with diminished desire and the pain, sex just isn't worth the trouble. While it's true that in the University of Chicago study half of those surveyed reported problems, many were still having a pretty good time.
In fact, many midlife women say sex gets better after menopause because they are comfortable with who they are, they know what they like and how to ask for it, and they don't have to worry about bleeding or pregnancy.The exact mechanism for this predicted demise wasn't always clear, but physicians of that era did believe it was dangerous for older women to even about sexual activity because erotic thoughts might, among other evils, evoke regrets for lost allure and those regrets could trigger disease.Medical literature and popular culture of the time (mostly written by men, of course) often portrayed women over 50 as borderline insane.Men can take a pill to stay aroused and enjoy sex as they get older, but women's responses are far more complex.All these obstacles to fulfilling sex converge just at the time in our lives when a lot of us were hoping that we could have a little fun after years of raising kids and running busy households.In order to enjoy sex, you have to feel that you're sexy.That's not easy if your self-esteem is tied to unrealistic images of eternal youth.It may take more time to feel aroused or reach orgasm so you and your partner might need to experiment with different and more focused forms of foreplay, as well as romantic activities to set the mood, like giving each other massages.If you don't have a partner at the moment, it's still important to keep the vaginal area healthy. No problem—just stick to a careful diet, regular Pilates and the miracles of modern medicine.At least that's the message we're getting from the recent burst of celebrity cougar mania and new advertising campaigns from pharmaceutical companies promising that hormones will restore our aging bodies to their former glory.