It's not just age, partner's health and interest in sex too have significant impact on sexual activity among middle-aged and elderly women, say researchers.
During the study, the team from University of California, San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente examined 2,000 women, aged 45 to 80 years old, 43 percent reported at least moderate sexual desire, and 60 percent had been sexually active in the previous three months.
Among sexually inactive women, the most common reason was lack of interest in sex with 39 percent of the respondents saying the same.
Thirty-six pct said lack of a partner, 23 pct agreed to physical problem of partner while 11 pct said lack of interest by partner.
Only nine percent were inactive from personal physical problems.
According to the researchers, sexual activity was defined as any activity that was arousing, including masturbation.
"Our findings indicate that a substantial portion of women are interested and engaged in sexual activity as they age," said lead author Alison Huang, MD, assistant professor in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
"Clinicians should consider a woman's overall health when addressing concerns about sexual inactivity.
However, treatment directed solely at improving women's sexual functioning, such as medications, may not substantially affect their activity if partner issues also are not addressed," Huang added.
The study appears in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.