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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 17:06 GMT
Male menopause 'myth' exploded
Middle aged man
Sex has a lower priority as men age
The male menopause may be all in the mind and men can be as sexually active in their 60s as they were in their 20s, research suggests.

Recent medical research claimed that when men reached middle age, their sex life died.

However a psychologist at Sheffield University said the decline in sexual activity was not symptomatic of a medical condition, but highlighted shifting priorities.

Addressing the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Blackpool, Lorraine Boul said factors such as finance and family security become more important.

If a man is sexually active in his 20s, there is no reason why he shouldn't be when he is 60

Lorraine Boul, psychologist
Of those 30 to 60-year-olds questioned and asked to list the two most important factors in their lives, only 3% put sex as the top priority.

Ms Boul, who described herself as "middle aged" said "sex was not classed by men as being very important".

She said: "Financial security was the most important aspect, followed by trust and family intimacy.

"The relationship was still important, but not when it comes to sex.

"When it came to sexual promise, it was the younger men under 46 who reported problems, so if there was any age who get the menopause it should have been the other way round."

Ms Boul, who has studied the subject for five years, said 46% of those aged over 46 believed in the male menopause whereas the majority of those younger did not know.

Ageing problems

Ms Boul said men blamed getting older on the menopause when really there was little medical evidence.

She said: "All of the research is medical and that's fine but everyone has problems as they age.

"In the past, it was known as being `in your prime', then it was called a mid-life crisis, but now there is no language to explain the ageing process.

"There has been a growth in the use of the male menopause term since 1990, that is when all the tests started to come out.

"There are those that think the term should be used and those who don't, and I think it shouldn't.

"If a man is sexually active in his 20s, there is no reason why he shouldn't be when he is 60."

She added that if sexual relations were difficult for someone in their younger life then it would continue to affect them in later life.

Of the 185 men who took part in the survey, 82% were in full-time employment with 20% professionals, 45% higher employment and 35% with school qualifications.

A significant 42% earned more than 33,000, 28% earned between 24,000 and 33,000, while 30% earned less than 24,000.

At least 48% considered themselves in very good health and 34% thought they were in fairly good health.

See also:

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