Could More Regular Sex Delay Menopause?

SoulAdvisor | 25 Jun 2021

A study into the link between sexual activity and menopause suggests that if a woman is not sexually active, the body chooses not to invest in ovulation.

Produced by the University College London (UCL), the study is based on data from almost 3000 women in the USA's Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multi-site longitudinal, epidemiologic study designed to examine the health of women during their middle years.

The study concluded that women who engaged in sexual activity weekly were 28% less likely to have experienced menopause at any age compared with women who engaged in sexual activity less than monthly. 

According to the study’s first author, UCL PhD candidate Megan Arnot, if a woman is not having sex, the body regards ovulation as a waste of energy and this energy is better directed at caring for the next generation. 

This is known as the “grandmother hypothesis” - essentially that women cease fertility in order to invest more time in their family and reduce reproductive conflict between generations of women. Ms Arnot refers to it as a “biological energetic trade-off”. 

Conducted over a 10 year period, the study found that 45% of the women experienced a natural menopause at an average age of 52. By examining the relationship between sexual frequency and the age of natural menopause, it found the women who engaged in sexual activity only monthly (as opposed to weekly) had a higher risk of early menopause.  

Interestingly, the study also tested whether living with a male partner (exposure to male pheromones) delayed menopause. The researchers found no correlation between the two. 

In essence, the study concludes that the timing of menopause may adapt in response to sexual behaviour.

If you need support with menopause, or would like to connect with one of our qualified health practitioners visit our therapies section (search for menopause) and book a free discovery call to discuss your needs and goals. 

References 

Sexual frequency is associated with age of natural menopause: results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation | Royal Society Open Science 

University College London 

Swan Study

Megan Arnot | University College London 

The Grandmother Effect: Implications for Studies on Aging and Cognition | US National Library of Medicine 

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