Outliving Fertility: Why Menopause Might Be Evolutionarily Advantageous

Outliving Fertility: Why Menopause Might Be Evolutionarily Advantageous

On average, women in the United States hit menopause at age 51. At this point, they enter what some scientists call a “post-reproductive lifespan” (or PRLS for short), during which their bodies are no longer physically capable of sexual reproduction. Compared to other species, women are not unique in having a PRLS. In fact, so many primate and non-primate species show evidence of a PRLS that it has been classified as "a general mammalian trait" [1]. However, the thing that is unique about humans is the relative length of the female PRLS.

So why does menopause account for such a large proportion of women’s lives?

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Sex Question Friday: Why Does Menopause Exist And Is It Unique To Humans?

Sex Question Friday: Why Does Menopause Exist And Is It Unique To Humans?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about the topic of menopause:

“Are humans the only species in which the females experience menopause? Why does menopause exist?”

Thanks for these great questions! As it turns out, human females are not unique in having what some scientists term a “post-reproductive lifespan” (or PRLS for short). In fact, studies have found that many primate and non-primate species show evidence of a PRLS [1].

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Sex Question Friday: Is It Really True That Women Have A Sexual Peak In Their 30s?

Sex Question Friday: Is It Really True That Women Have A Sexual Peak In Their 30s?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people's questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week's question comes from a reader who wanted to know the following:

"Is there any truth to the idea that women have a sexual peak in their 30s?"

Great question! The idea that women have a sexual peak in their 30s likely originated with Alfred Kinsey, whose research in the 1950s revealed that women in their 30s reported the most orgasms compared to women of all other ages. But are more orgasms in and of themselves necessarily a sign that thirty-something women are having a sexual "peak?" Not necessarily, in fact, many have argued that these women aren't more desirous of sex and instead have probably just figured out more effective ways of reaching orgasm than their younger counterparts. However, more recent research suggests that there might indeed be something to back up the idea that women experience at least a small sexual peak and that perhaps there is even an evolutionary reason for this.

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Do Women Reach Their Sexual “Peak” In Their 30s?

If you’re anything like me, you have probably heard over and over that women reach their sexual peak in their 30s, quite a bit later than men. Naturally, I have always wondered whether there was any truth to this idea. If you Google “women’s sexual peak,” you will come across article after article stating that it is a myth. Most of those articles say that this notion can be attributed to a misreading of Alfred Kinsey’s classic research on female sexuality, which found that women in their 30s reported having the most orgasms compared to women of all other ages. The authors of these articles argue that this higher number of orgasms is not a sign that 30-something women are more desirous of sex; instead, it is argued that these women are probably just more comfortable with their bodies and have figured out more effective ways of reaching orgasm than younger women. However, none of these articles offer any real evidence to back up their contention that the sexual peak idea is a myth. So who should you believe?  
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