A new sexuality survey has confirmed what women know and some men fear – single females have far more luck achieving orgasm than those partnered off. Who is it that gets to do this research anyway?
Taking men out of the picture allows women to "better connect with themselves", according to sex therapists behind the Queensland study of 500 older women.
The research found that 56 per cent of sexually-active women with no current partner could reach orgasm every time with masturbation compared with only 24 per cent of women with partners.
"That’s a significant difference and I’d imagine there are few men out there a little surprised and unimpressed that women have better luck without them," said medical sex therapist Dr Jane Howard.
The findings come from the study What Does Sexuality Mean To Older Women?, which assessed the sex lives of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s to find trends over the ages.
Dr Howard said she believed women on their own were better at achieving orgasm because they don’t have the "distraction" of having to please a man or subscribe to male-type sexual fantasies.
"Arousal is a lot about what erotic thoughts go through the mind, and for women that’s very different to men," Dr Howard said.
"It may be focusing on Colin Firth’s smouldering eyes, some romantic novel or a waterfall or whatever."
The therapist said the most outstanding aspect of the study was the variety of ways people lived their lives.
"Some people are in relationships and having sex, some are in relationships with no sex, others are single and are having sex … it was just so varied," Dr Howard said.
She said her results destroyed the cultural myth that people stay in life-long relationships and are sexually functional until they die.
"We like to think of people having wild sex for their whole lives but the reality isn’t quite like that," Dr Howard said.
More than 80 per cent of women in their 40s were sexually active, but this figure declined to 27 per cent for those in their 70s.
The fact that 70 per cent of men in their 70s were not capable of having an erection could affect this figure.
But results showed that three quarters of women over 70 were indifferent to sex.
While their libido dropped off and arousal was less, their capacity to orgasm was seemingly unaffected by age.
"That was quite surprising, actually," Dr Howard said.
She said the results would help people understand the true impact that ageing had on sex.
The findings are part of the Longitudinal Assessment of Ageing in Women, conducted by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.