Women who have s*x at least once a week start the menopause later
than those how make love less than once a month, according to a new
Scientists at University College London analysed data from the US Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) – the “largest,
most diverse and most representative longitudinal cohort study
available to research aspects of the menopause transition” according to UCL.
Sexual activity was defined as sexual intercourse, oral sex, sexual
touching and caressing or self-stimulation, reports Sky News.
According to the study’s first author, PhD candidate Megan Arnot:
“The findings of our study suggest that if a woman is not having sex,
and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body ‘chooses’ not to
invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless.
“There may be a biological energetic trade-off between investing energy
into ovulation and investing elsewhere, such as keeping active by
looking after grandchildren.
“The idea that women cease fertility in order to invest more time in
their family is known as the Grandmother Hypothesis, which predicts that
the menopause originally evolved in humans to reduce reproductive
conflict between different generations of females, and allow women to
increase their inclusive fitness through investing in their
Published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the study also
suggested that women’s immune function is impaired during ovulation
which makes them more susceptible to falling ill making it a costly
In evolutionary terms the scientists say that it would not be beneficial
for the body to invest in ovulation when, due to the lack of sexual
activity, it is unlikely to pay off with pregnancy.
Professor Ruth Mace added: “The menopause is, of course, an
inevitability for women, and there is no behavioural intervention that
will prevent reproductive cessation.
“Nonetheless, these results are an initial indication that menopause
timing may be adaptive in response to the likelihood of becoming