Women’s Health: The frequency of intercourse could influence menopause onset

There’s a link between sex and menopause. An active sex life, with intercourse once a week or even once a month, is linked to a later onset of menopause. This has been confirmed by a study conducted by 2 researchers from the University College London and published in Royal Society Open Science. Megan Arnot and Ruth Mace, the study’s authors, analysed nearly 3000 volunteers for 10 years. The majority of the women were around 45 years old, with children, and were either married or lived with their partners. The participants were interviewed about their sexual habits, from the frequency of oral sex, to cuddling and masturbation.

Researchers then combined this data with those regarding menopause. They observed that the probability to begin menopause at a certain age in the women who had sex once a week was 28% lower than the women who were intimate with their partners less then once a month. Those who reported having sex once a month showed a probability of 19%. The scientists also asked themselves if living with a partner, and therefore being exposed to masculine pheromones, could have an effect on menopause. But in this case the study proved negative. According to the researchers, the ties between sex and menopause are both phyisological and evolutional. If a woman does not have sexual intercourse there is not the possibility of becoming pregnant and the body decides to transfer energy use from ovulation to other functions, including a greater involvement in child rearing.

This idea is also part of the Grandmother Hypothesis which states that menopause serves an evolutionary purpose of reducing reproductive conflict between mother and daughter by ensuring that women with a well-formed family, with children and grandchildren, could dedicate themselves to caring for the youngest.

HFTHQ 20-06