The latest research from the University College of London reveals that women having more sexual activity have a reduced risk of earlier menopause as compared to the women who are engaged in relatively less sexual activity.
The researchers said that the women, who were engaged in weekly sexual activity, were almost 28% less likely to get earlier menopause at any age than the women who were engaged in less than monthly sexual activity. Sexual activities include sexual intercourse, sexual touching, oral sex, and self-stimulation.
The finding of this study is published in the journal “Royal Society Open Science”.
The research is based on the data collected from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) in the USA. It is the most diverse, largest and longitudinal cohort study for the research aspects of the transition of menopause.
The lead author of the study, Megan Arnot said that the findings of the study suggest that if women are not involved in sexual intercourse, there will be no chance of pregnancy and the body will not invest in ovulation as it is pointless. There might be a biological energy trade-off between utilizing energy in ovulation and investing anywhere.
The idea of ceasing fertility by women for investing more time in the family is called the Grandmother Hypothesis that predicts that menopause evolved in humans for reducing reproductive conflict between different female generations and allowing women to increase the inclusive fitness by investing in grandchildren.
During the process of ovulation, the immune functions are impaired which makes the body susceptible to disease. Given the pregnancy is unlikely because of the lack of sexual activity and it is not beneficial for allocating energy to the costly process particularly if there is an option for investing resources into the existing kin.
The mean age was 45 years old at the first interview. Women who were non-Hispanic Caucasians were the most represented in the given sample almost 48% and the majority of the women were highly educated above the high school level. On average women had two children and most were married or living with their partners or in a relationship.
The women respond to different questions which include whether they were engaged in sexual activities with their partner for the past six months, the frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual touching, and oral sex or self-stimulation. The most repeated pattern was a weekly sexual activity.
None of those women yet entered menopause but almost 46% were in peri-menopause (start experiencing symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and changes in the menstrual cycle) and almost 54% of them were pre-menopausal (regular cycles and no symptoms of menopause)
By evaluating the relationship between the age of normal menopause and the sexual frequency, women who had weekly sex and had a 0.81 hazard ratio as compared to the women who had monthly sex and had a hazard ratio of 0.72.
The researchers checked the characteristics which include estrogen level, BMI, education, race, smoking habits, age at first interview and age of first menstruation and overall health.
Professor Ruth Mace said that menopause is an inevitability for the ladies and there is no behavioral intervention that will prevent the cessation of the reproductive system. These findings are the initial indication that the timing of menopause may be adaptive for the chances of pregnancy.