Growing old disgracefully

Here’s a problem – and a solution.

A recent study in the August issue of the British Journal of Urology reported that almost two thirds of women reported sexual dysfunction. Six key areas were noted: lack of desire, arousal issues, lack of lubrication, lack of orgasm, lack of satisfaction and/or pain during intercourse.

These problems strongly relate to age. For example, lack of desire was reported by 48% (44%) of women in the 31 to 45 age group. And by 65% (48%) of women in the 46 – 57 age group. The figures in brackets refer to difficulties in achieving orgasm. By the age of 70, lack of desire, satisfaction and orgasm is around the 90% mark.

The sample was large enough to give significant results, but the participants were all attenders at a urology (trouble with the waterworks) clinic, which may mean that they were untypical. However the results correlated well with a Turkish study suggesting that the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction, and its relationship to age, is biological rather than sociological. You can read a fuller summary here.

Does this have any special significance for us? Perhaps not – unless one considers the evidence that women tend to be more sexually interested around the time of ovulation. Since this is the time when sexual congress is ruled out in natural family planning the best chance for women prone to sexual disorders to promote the relationship through satisfying sexual connection has to be eschewed.

However, take heart. Another very recent study tells us that women have a tendency to be more erotically aroused by men wearing red garments, in preference to any other colour. So the whole problem might be solved by the purchase of a pair of bright red pajamas. Good luck!

Advertisements

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Growing old disgracefully

  1. fraynelson says:

    You seem to suggest that an ideal, desirable (no pun intended) situation would be that, as a norm, women remain sexually interested and active up to the brink of the grave?

    I also presume you wish the same for gentlemen.

    But then there is room for asking why things should be so. Appetites come and go in life and nobody is in shock because we don’t love candies as much as we used to in childhood…

  2. claret says:

    Red garments? I felt sure that Quentin was going to add how Cardinals had an unfair advantage over other clergy when it came to erotically arousing women.
    Then I realised it was ‘garments’ and not ‘vestments.’ (Still, vestments are garments, are they not?)

  3. tim says:

    From the paper summary: “Known risk factors for FSD [female sexual disfunction] include age, a history of sexual abuse or sexually transmitted infections, depression, lower socioeconomic status, lifestyle, overall physical health and sexual experience”. Interesting (the last particularly). These are presumably associations rather than causes – causation might run in either direction (for example, it’s easy to see that FSD might make one depressed), or both FSD and one or more of the above might be (partly) caused by something else. Science is wonderful.

    Quentin trails a (red?) coat when he suggests that natural family planning rules out the time that may be most favorable for satisfying intercourse. Possibly true, but the practice of the Christian religion can entail certain inconveniences.

  4. Horace says:

    The results are on the whole unsurprising but inevitably reflect the mindset of the sexual revolution.
    1) Children are not mentioned. Presumably they are considered irrelevant to a discussion of FSD.
    2) The major ‘problem’ is recorded as ‘lack of desire’. In another age this might have been recorded as ‘freedom from concupiscence’.
    5) Although ‘menopausal status’ is mentioned the data is not analysed in relation to the menopause. Did you know that the only mammals to exhibit a menopause are humans and some species of toothed whales? (Source: Economist, July 17th, Science & Technology section) There is an evolutionary explanation; both of these generally live in groups (or more precisely humans used to live in such groups – whales still do) where grandmothers make a significant contribution by helping to bring up children and this is made easier by decreased sexual involvement.

  5. Vincent says:

    It is interesting that concupiscence – which simply means desire – should be described by the Catechism (still – see 1264) as a tendency to sin derived from our fallen condition. It might just as easily have been described as a God-given tendency leading, under the guidance of right reason, to the sexual expression of marriage. The Magisterium always hits the black side first.

    Incidentally I notice that golf players who share their course with the public wear red shirts for identification. They don’t look a very erotic lot, but should I warn my daughters to keep away?

  6. Superview says:

    The treatment of sex in Roman Catholicism, as many contributors to Second Sight have evidenced, is much less than inspiring and, the complications of enforced clerical celibacy apart, is, as Vincent reminds us, drawn from a particular take on the story of Adam and Eve. Yet the fact that Adam and Eve are fictional characters and the details symbolic seems at last to have been accepted by the Catholic Catechism (a pope having not that long ago asserted it was absolute truth). But the implications are too catastrophic to give up on the subject, even if the default position now is that we don’t know what happened nor when, that is, to quote:
    “390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.
    Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.”
    The fact that the references for this whole section on the Fall and Original Sin, of over 2,500 words, are to ancient or medieval sources that had no knowledge of evolution and believed the story of Adam and Eve to have been true in every detail, causes the Catechism’s authors not a moment of reflection, indeed they continue to refer to ‘Adam’, ‘Adam’s sin’ and ‘our first parents’. I other words, it would seem that faith does not support reason in this case, and reason must be abandoned because it conflicts with faith. Or maybe there is another way of interpreting this that has some intellectual credibility? Without the doctrine of ‘The Fall’ (and specifically St Augustine’s contribution) it is possible the Church’s attitude to sex would have been different – but then we would also need a radically different understanding of the Incarnation.

  7. st.joseph says:

    Interesting!When one considers that Natural Family Planning can not be included in the statistics,as the users of N.F.P will be minimum. I don’t see how it can be included as a reason for more sexual activity-as a woman won’t know when she ‘is ovulating’ and where other forms of family planning is used.Age does bring on various complications both physical and psychological and if I dare say it-‘fed up with sex’!

    Love lasts for ever,.
    I made a comment in a much earlier post,that a useful read for a better understanding of sexual intercourse within marriage is ‘Holy Communion: Eucharistic and Marital.’ In both, a bodily gift of self expresses love.By John F. Kippley Each act of communion… Eucharistic or marital…is a sacred reality.
    This being the true meaning of a sexual relationship between a husband and wife. Whereby the Trinitarian God exists in the Sacrament of Matrimony.
    This is obviousley too deep an understanding for the majority of males when it comes to sex(maybe not to catholics).
    I think there is a lot to learn about the physical and emotional relationship between couples. The media, sex shops, male magazines etc etc etc, do a lot of damage to the majority of male and female relationships.
    Catholics would do well to show the world how Gods wants it to work- with Him.

    Quentin the colour red may subconsciously create a feeling of ‘passion’, but to me it is Our Lords Passion-where True Love begins and ends.The ‘passion’ one feels when working with and for God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s