'Cougars' and condoms: let's talk about sex, says uni

The rise in divorce and online dating are widening women's networks of sexual partners and that of their partners in turn.
The rise in divorce and online dating are widening women's networks of sexual partners and that of their partners in turn. KatarzynaBialasiewicz

SEX can be fraught with awkward conversations.

If you are a middle-aged woman and you're nodding frantically, CQUni want to hear your stories - anonymously of course.

Bundaberg's Dr Cathy O'Mullan is launching a study to find out how heterosexual women aged 45 to 64 negotiate safe sex following a rise in STIs.

She says this demographic is often ignored when it comes to sex studies.

"Over the last decade we've seen almost a threefold increase in sexually transmitted infections, particularly chlamydia, in this group," Dr O'Mullan said.

"While the numbers are still low compared to younger people, it's an area of public health that has been neglected and it is something we need to keep an eye on."

The rise in divorce and online dating are widening women's networks of social and sexual partners and that of their partners in turn.

"It can be really difficult for women in this cohort to start raising the issue of safe sex and condom use," Dr O'Mullan said.

Many women in middle age have been in long-term relationships so they haven't had recent experience in negotiating safe sex.

They may associate condoms with promiscuity, or feel they don't need them because they are at low risk of getting pregnant.

More worrying is pressure from male counterparts to go along with unsafe sex.

While men's sexuality is more widely discussed, a lot of stigma and stereotyping persists around women, Dr O'Mullan said.

"Research shows even health professionals don't readily broach the subject of safe sex with older women.

"We hope the findings will have some use in policy and sexual health promotion.

"We want to challenge some ageist and sexist constructs - stereotypes like 'cougars' - and put this on the agenda."

Women interested in taking part in a phone interview can respond via text message or phone 0435 725 528 to receive an information sheet. 

Queries or concerns can also be addressed via or

Topics:  bundaberg cq university general-seniors-news sex wellbeing

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Emergency crews show Biloela what they can do

GET IT RIGHT: Biloela firefighters demonstrate proper hose technique during the open day.

Good turnout for open day, say fire crews.

$800 fine for meth and acid possession

Methylamphetamine crystals.

Rockhampton man found with ingredient for ice production.

Nathan Tinkler among potential buyers for Dawson mine

IN THE MIX: Nathan Tinkler is reportedly one of several potential buyers for Anglo American's Dawson Mine.

Controversial businessman said to be touring Dawson mine.

Local Partners

BREAKING: Crime scenes at two CQ schools with 'suspicious' fires

TWO crime scenes have been established at Biloela schools after two fires caused significant damage to a building and a courtyard.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

CMC organisers: No more pre-sale tickets will be sold

US country music group The Dixie Chicks. Supplied by Chugg Entertainment.

UPDATE: Plenty of people unhappy with process

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

In Flames are super 'proud' of new album

In Flames album to be released in November.  Photo Contributed

In Flames to release new album in November

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge