As if we haven't heard this one before: Healthy men have better sex -- and more of it -- than healthy women, researchers say.
Ronda Kaysen: If a man stays fit and healthy, he can expect to see his svelte physique give him five to seven more years of great sex. As for women, the picture isn't so rosy. A healthy, fit woman of the same age can expect a mere three to six additional years of romping in the sack.
What gives? Talk to any of the women I know, and you'll find a bunch of ladies who like sex as much as any horny, healthy man. We might be frustrated that we're not getting enough of it, or irritated that our kids sap us of the energy we need to have it, but we want it and like it.
So, even if we stay healthy, could it really be true that we're looking at less sex on the horizon? To add insult to injury, the sex that we do get is less satisfying than it is for men, the study claims.
Apparently, it's a combination of circumstance and attitude. Women outlive men by about five to six years, and tend not to have sex unless they're in a relationship -- so there are a whole bunch of older, single women out there not getting any. Then there's the issue of problems in the bedroom: While Viagra has done wonders for men in that department, there's no equivalent magic pill for women.
"There's a difference in how we treat women for other diseases that affect their sexual desire," Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, the associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and geriatric medicine who led the University of Chicago study, told CNN. "If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and she has, for example, her breasts removed, and we never counsel her about her sexual function, we start to realize how many years of life she's losing. Not doing those things could mean ten years of lost sexual activity."
There's been a lot of attention on the male sex life lately (you can't turn on the television without seeing an ad for Viagra). But women seem to get shortchanged in the discussion, like our sex life doesn't really matter all that much. Or perhaps the message that's sent is that women don't really need sex as much as men -- which is something I find totally untrue.
Lindau seems to agree. "I don't want to perpetuate the notion that older women don't desire sex," she said. "There's a glass-half-full here. There's a big hunk of older women still having sex. Women who initiate relationships later in life -- they describe passionate love and sex ... the way younger people do."
But there also seem to be a lot of older women not having sex, according to Lindau's study. And I wonder how many of them would be spending more time in the sack -- and living healthier and happier lives from all that good sex -- if there were some changes in our attitudes about women's sexuality.
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, The New York Observer, Babble.com and AM New York. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Follow her on Twitter.|