What is worse for your sex life: Starving, being depressed, or a new baby?

Authors

  • Frances A. Carter PhD, Dip Clin Psych,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
    • Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Janet D. Carter PhD, Dip Clin Psych,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Suzanne E. Luty BM BS, FRANZCP, PhD,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Jennifer Jordan PhD, Dip Clin Psych,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Virginia V.W. McIntosh PhD, Dip Clin Psych,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Andrea F. Bartram MA (Hons),

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Roger T. Mulder MB ChB, PhD, FRANZCP,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Janice M. McKenzie MB ChB, FRCP(Canada), FRANZCP,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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  • Cynthia M. Bulik PhD Clin Psych

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    2. Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Abstract

Objective:

To compare the current sexual functioning of women in an intimate relationship with anorexia nervosa, with major depression, and in the postpartum period.

Method:

Complete data were available for 76 women who reported being in an intimate relationship (anorexia = 10; depression = 24; postpartum = 42). Sexual functioning was assessed using the Social Adjustment Scale (Weissman and Bothwell, Arch Gen Psychiatry, 33, 1111–1115, 1976).

Results:

Significant differences were found among groups for the frequency of sex (p =.03) and problems with sex (p < .001), but not for enjoyment of sex (p = .55). In the previous 2 weeks, women with anorexia nervosa or major depression were more likely to have had sex than postpartum women, but were also more likely to have had sexual problems than postpartum women. Most women with anorexia nervosa, women with major depression, and postpartum women reported enjoying sex.

Conclusion:

Women with anorexia nervosa and women with major depression who are in an intimate relationship report a similar profile of current sexual functioning that is different from postpartum women both in the frequency of sexual encounters and in reported problems with sex. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007.

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