Between the ages of about 48 and 55, women experience menopause: the permanent cessation of menstruation. The ovaries cease to release eggs and produce oestrogen, which results in physical changes that may affect sexuality. The vaginal walls become thinner and less elastic, the vagina and labia shrink slightly and there is less vaginal lubrication, which may make intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
Women who find themselves newly single during their middle years, often after divorce, may struggle to find the confidence to get back in the ‘dating game’ as mature women. Dating services and support groups can be helpful in overcoming the difficulty of finding new suitable partners, and in dealing with loneliness and sexual frustration.