Annie’s Mailbox – 2.14.12
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar
Dear Readers: Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all, along with our special good wishes to the veterans in VA hospitals around the country. And our particular thanks to those readers who have taken the time to send valentines, visit the vets and volunteer at VA facilities. Bless each and every one of you.
Dear Annie: “Sex Therapist” does not need a refresher course. You are mistaken when you say that the “vast majority” of older women lose interest in sex.
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch newsletter reported that in a survey of 27,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), more than 60 percent of women in their 50s, 45 percent of those in their 60s and 28 percent of women in their 70s reported that they were sexually active, and almost two-thirds said they were happy with their level of sexual activity. Of those who were dissatisfied, more than half said they would prefer having sex more often. Even these numbers may be misleading, because when healthy women stop having sex, it is not necessarily due to a lack of libido. Often it’s because they lack a partner or because topical treatments have not resolved the common problem of vaginal dryness, which can cause pain during intercourse. — Carole Wade, Ph.D.
Dear Dr. Wade: We do not take issue with the fact that post-menopausal women can be interested in sex. In fact, we encourage it. We do, however, disagree with “Sex Therapist’s” comment that losing interest is a myth.
We are delighted the study showed that 28 percent of women still have an active libido into their 70s (and presumably beyond). But it is hardly a myth that hormones are depleted as we age, and many post-menopausal women lose interest for a variety of reasons. According to our readers, those who have a healthy sex life are generally using some form of hormone replacement. We need to acknowledge this reality and not make women feel freakish or inadequate if they experience a drop in libido and hormones are not an option.
Plenty of readers weighed in on this hot topic. Read on:
From Florida: My husband and I had always had a wonderful sex life together, and I wasn’t about to give it up because of menopause. But I did not want to take any oral hormone therapy with its risks. I discovered that using an over-the-counter progesterone cream from my local health food store and a prescription estrogen cream twice a week totally “cured” my lagging sexual desire.
Michigan: I am 51, and my best friend is 61. We both still love sex. We think you only hear from women who don’t want it anymore. They probably didn’t like it much to begin with.
Florida: I am so sick of hearing how great sex in later life can be. I really enjoyed sex in my younger years, but not anymore. I have to use cream because of dryness and then take an antibiotic every time so I don’t get an infection. The fireworks that used to accompany sex have become duds. I still love him, but having sex at 67 is more bother than it is worth.
Massachusetts: I am 61. Of all my “elderly” friends, I have not known one to ever tell me they have lost interest in sex, even if they presently have no partner. We are all happy, confident women who take pride in our sexuality and are still very interested. I believe the real problem lies with the men. They are the ones who have lost interest or are unable to perform and are too embarrassed to seek help.
Pennsylvania: The lack of desire for physical intimacy in women (and in men) is often a hormonal imbalance brought on by overexposure to estrogen-like chemicals in petroleum products (plastics, perfumes, cleaners). Lubrication and desire can return when hormones are rebalanced with natural bio-identical hormones.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Published in The Messenger 2.14.12