Never one to shy from a taboo (if there’s precious, precious page clicks in it), the Daily Mail recently offered their take on the joys of post-menopausal sex:
The Mrs Robinson effect: Two out of five older women admit to being equally or more sexually active after menopause
Often misunderstood, the menopause is usually viewed as a time of slowing down for women, and the first sign of increasing years.
But new research reveals that two out of five menopausal women are either more or just as sexually active as they were before entering this period.
And one in ten is older women is having ‘more fun’ than in their 30s, with the same amount saying they can even see themselves enjoying life with a new partner, according to a survey of 500 women.
A curious article, this one: while on the surface, it does appear to be a positive and uplifting message declaring confidently that the menopause doesn’t signal the death of the libido (which, all things being equal, is a nice message to be putting out), the source of the story is nevertheless problematic. The first hint as to the paymasters behind this PR study appears a little way in:
With it marking the end of menstruation, it has traditionally been known as the ‘change of life’ and the reduction in oestrogen can cause physical and emotional symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and problematic skin.
Being neither menopausal nor female, I may not be best placed to comment, but I was a little surprise that this ‘post-menopause doesn’t mean post-sex’ article didn’t add libido-loss or other physical symptoms of problematic sexual lives (as a thirty year old man, I can’t get away with saying ‘vaginal dryness’ here, so I’ll leave that to the experts) to the list… and I was very surprised to see ‘problematic skin’ mentioned. It certainly had me skimreading the article quicker, leading me to:
The study, conducted by independent survey company OnePoll on behalf of Stratum C; developers of the UK’s leading skincare range for menopause; polled 500 women who were either going or had just gone through the symptoms.
First things first – it’s interesting to see Bad PR regulars OnePoll were behind the survey. Who’d have thought that OnePoll could so easily gather 500 post-menopausal women within the short window their online and unregulated polls remain open for – especially given the possibility for OnePoll users to circumvent screening questions in a quest for ever more micropayments.
If OnePoll’s screening and sampling isn’t utterly bulletproof, this story could easily be fatally compromised.
Secondly, take a look at the company who paid OnePoll (or paid a PR company to pay OnePoll) to gather the data – a skincare company targetting menopausal women. Suddenly that positive ‘you’re still sexy!’ spin looks a lot more like ‘you still need to buy products to make you look sexy!’, doesn’t it?
Tim Clover, CEO of Stratum C, said: ‘We’ve inevitably become a contact point and hub for women to ask questions or tell us about their experiences. It’s fantastic when we hear stories of people embracing this new phase in their lives and are feeling confident about it.
‘These are vibrant women often with healthy sex lives; even contemplating a new partner in some cases. They care a great deal about feeling good and being confident in their appearance is clearly as important as it’s ever been.
Clearly, Tim, appearances are as important as ever – but post-menopausal women the land over doubtlessly want to express their gratitude to you and to Stratum C for reminding them of their ceaseless obligation to focus on their appearance.