Cougars Friskier Than College Kids? Blame the Biological Clock

The libido lifts as menopause draws nearer

A new study finds women think about sex the most in their final reproductive years. When the biological clock is ticking, desperate times call for desperate measures—in the bedroom, that is. At least, that’s according to a new study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

According to the research, women are at their friskiest when they’re closing in on their final years of reproduction. They’re more willing than younger, more fertile women to have one-night-stands and engage in “adventurous bedroom behavior,” all for the sake of procreation, it seems. (As a side note, I wonder what a group of scientists qualify as daring boudoir behavior—flavored lube? Handcuffs?)

Regardless of the reasons for it, the findings might help explain why guys find cougars so attractive: We’re willing to put out, we’ll swing from chandeliers, and, since our eggs are waning, we’re probably less likely to get pregnant to boot. What’s not to love?

The research team at the University of Austin surveyed 827 women, grouping them into three age brackets: “high fertility” (18-26), “low fertility” (27-45) and “menopausal” (46 and older). The study did not measure any of the women’s hormone levels, using age as their only fertility gauge.

Apparently, we of “low fertility” think about sex much more often, have more frequent sexual fantasies, and have more intense sexual fantasies, too. And that’s not because we’re not getting any, ladies. Women in the 27-to-45-year-old bracket have a more active sex life than the 26-and-under set. According to lead researcher Judith Easton, PhD, the older we get, the more willing we are to have sex—until we hit menopause, at which point the libido just kind of goes kaput. According to another one of the study’s authors, University of Texas psychologist David Buss, who wrote The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, that urge to have more sex as our fertile days become numbered is a holdover from our evolutionary past. Women are programmed to have as many children as possible because, back in our ancestors’ days, babies died often from famine or disease. To increase the odds of propagating our species, we’d just keep making babies until we no longer could.

Does the fact that women in their 30s and 40s are having more—and kinkier—sex than women in their 20s really indicate a subconscious last-ditch effort to make babies? Or could it just be that we are more comfortable with our bodies and our partners, and are confident enough to let our partners know what turns us on? It’s hard to say. But what I really want to know is, who are all these 30+ women who are making college co-eds look like prudes? Because in an informal poll amongst my 35-year-old friends, we are not putting out nearly as much as the women surveyed for the study.

Are you more sexually active—and adventurous—than you were in college? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- 6 Foods to Get You in the Mood
- Expert Question: How mportant is sex for a happy marriage?
- Be Grateful: It’s Good for Your Relationship
- How Often Do Moms Have Sex? Are You Normal? See the Results!

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