Despite what most women grew up thinking, reaching your mid-30s (and even beyond) can be fabulous.
If nothing else, that’s something we all learned from watching the women of Sex and The City.
Except … when your 30th birthday finally dawns on you, you may start thinking about your future and questioning how quickly the decades crept up on you already, and how quickly the next year will be here, too.
And given that healthy women today female more sexually empowered than ever, one nagging concern that often surfaces among this age group is how getting older affects women’s libido.
How long can women expect to maintain a high sex drive, and when do they really hit — and, gulp, surpass — their sexual prime?
For many modern women, worries about aging seem to be less about getting too many wrinkles, being perceived as a sex-crazed “cougar”, or no longer being asked for to your ID.
What often crowds a woman’s mind around this age is her biological clock and it’s noisy ticking.
By age 30, and continuing into their 40s, all many women can hear is a faint, imaginary murmur from our anxious fallopian tubes: tick-tock, tick-tock.
It’s this “sound” that, according to research conducted by psychology students at the Texas State University, California State University, San Bernardino, and the University of Texas at Austin, drives us to “capitalize on our remaining childbearing years.”
In layman’s terms, as we age, we more have sex — and lots of it.
Although there’s a little Samantha Jones in all of us (and maybe a lot in some of us), the study attributes “adventurous bedroom behavior” not to our upbringing or racy TV show, but to fertility.
The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences and titled “Reproduction expediting: Sexual motivations, fantasies, and the ticking biological clock,” involved 827 women divided into three groups: high fertility (ages 18-26), low fertility (ages 27-45), and menopausal (ages 46 and up).
Based on participants’ answers to an online questionnaire, the researchers found that women between the ages of 27 to 45 (those in the low fertility category) possess a “heightened sex drive in response to their dwindling fertility,” as these women are “more likely to have frequent sexual fantasies, an active sex life, and a willingness to have casual sex.”
“Our findings suggest that women don’t necessarily go ‘baby crazy’ in their 30s or go around thinking they’re supposed to be having a ‘sexual peak,'” says researcher Judith Easton. “Our results suggest there is nothing special about the 30s, but that instead these behaviors manifest in all women with declining fertility. It may be more difficult to conceive past the age of 35, but our research suggests women’s psychology will continue to motivate them to try until menopause.”
So, our desire to have sex, at least past age 27, is driven more by nature and less by nurture, it seems.
Isn’t it nice to have science remind us of our animal nature just when technology, modern medicine, and all our human rituals let us nearly forget where we came from?
We were shocked to know our fertility starts declining as early as age 27. Can’t nurture have a little talk with nature to get our biological and sociological clocks in sync?
Stephanie Castillo is a writer whose work has been featured in Prevention, Women’s Health, and more.