Having Regular Sex May Help Delay Menopause

by | Jan 17, 2020

As if you needed another reason to do the deed more often, new research shows a healthy sex life delay the onset of menopause.

For the study, published in the journal Royal Society of Open Science, data from more than 2,936 US women aged 42-52-years-old was analysed. This included how often they engaged in sexual activity, including sexual touching or caressing, oral sex, sexual intercourse and masturbation.

78 per cent of participants were married or in a relationship, while 68 per cent lived with a partner.

The women who reported having sex at least once a week, had a 28 per cent lower chance of entering menopause compared with those who got between the sheets once a month or less.

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RELATED: 5 Women Share The Thing That Surprised Them Most About Menopause

“We noticed that in existing menopause literature, there was a trend of married women experiencing menopause later—which seemed weird to us,” Megan Arnot, the lead study author and a PhD candidate in evolutionary anthropology at University College London, told Health. “Not many people had tried to explain this association, and I thought that perhaps it was adaptive in response to sexual frequency, so we decided to test that.”

While the study didn’t explore why regular sex causes a woman to go through menopause later, Arnot has a couple of theories:

“It might be that women who are perimenopausal don’t feel like having sex,” she said. “It might be that there’s a trade-off between continued ovulation and stopping.” Translation: if you’re not having sex, the body thinks you’re not likely to get pregnant, “so there’d be little point in maintaining ovulatory function.”

Ovulation requires a ton of energy from the body, which can lower our immune function. “So there may be a point in life where it’s better off to stop ovulating and invest your energy elsewhere if you’re not going to have a baby (because you’re not having sex.)”

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Interestingly, these findings debunked speculation that being exposed to a male partner’s pheromones can affect the timing of the menopause. In fact, the study’s authors said there was “no conclusive evidence either that humans produce pheromones, or that they are capable of detecting them.” 

And while genetics certainly comes into play, the timing of menopause is also linked to other influences, including lifestyle factors such as smoking and how many eggs she is born with.

“Of course, the menopause is an inevitability for women, and there is no behavioural intervention that will prevent reproductive cessation; nonetheless, these results are an initial indication that menopause timing may be adaptive in response to sexual behaviour,” the study’s authors said.

RELATED: UK Company Launches Ground-Breaking Policy For Women With Menopause

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Women Fleeing Domestic Violence Can Now Receive A One-Off Support Payment

It’s been labelled the shadow pandemic and the fact remains that for many women across Australia, domestic violence is a lived reality that doesn’t discriminate by age, occupation, or socio-economic status. Researchers have found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in family and domestic violence, with agencies experiencing a surge in demand as nearly half their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours. 

As many who have lived through such turmoil and trauma can attest, the roadmap to fleeing such situations at home can be fraught with challenges and extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when such bureaucracy makes it even harder. Now, it’s been announced that women fleeing a violent relationship will be given a one-off $5,000 payment as part of a federal government trial scheme. 

Known as the “escaping violence payment scheme,” the government has set aside $144.5 million over the next two years to give women $1,500 cash, with the remainder to pay for goods and services, bond, school fees and other necessaries to establish a new safe home. UnitingCare Network will be tasked with delivering the payments while helping link women and their children with relevant community services. 

As the Daily Telegraph reports, “An analysis of domestic violence data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while it is more common for women from poorer areas, women from high socio-economic areas are not immune from experiencing partner violence.”

As Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston explained, the trial has been introduced with the aim to help women overcome the financial barriers that might deter them from leaving a violent relationship. “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse - which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money - reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” she said. 

“The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter. Often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”

To be eligible for a payment, women must be facing financial stress and have some evidence of domestic violence such as a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, or an AVO, court order or police report. As UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said, “We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and children.”

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.