• Coping Mechanisms;
  • Personality;
  • Psychology;
  • Sexual Dysfunction



Sexual disorders impact up to 43% of women. However, the relationship between sexual dysfunction and psychological variables such as personality traits and coping mechanisms is not well understood.


To examine personality domains and coping strategies utilized by women with sexual dysfunction in a clinical sample.


Patients seeking care for female sexual dysfunction (FSD) from a sexual medicine specialist were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes. Packets containing informed consent, Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised (FSDS-R), Ten Item Personality Index (TIPI), and Brief COPE were mailed to subjects.

Main Outcome Measures

Correlations among FSFI, FSDS-R, TIPI, and Brief COPE.


Of 79 eligible subjects, 50 (63.2%) returned completed questionnaires. The mean age was 40 years (standard deviation 14). Total FSFI and FSDS-R scores confirmed FSD. Correlations between the FSFI and TIPI illustrated trends with the domain of extraversion, suggesting better function in those exhibiting more of this trait (r = 0.285, P = 0.079). Similarly, FSDS-R scores correlated with openness to experience (r = −0.305, P = 0.037) and approached significance for extraversion (r = −0.258, P = 0.080), indicating lower distress in such personality types. When assessing the Brief COPE, use of emotional support, a positive coping strategy, correlated with better orgasm (r = 0.303, P = 0.048) and higher satisfaction (r = 0.331, P = 0.03). Finally, when evaluating TIPI with COPE scores, several significant associations were noted, establishing that personality may influence these adaptive behaviors.


Many notable relationships between sexual function, personality, and coping are presented. These support a role for consideration of psychological variables when evaluating women presenting for sexual dysfunction. Crisp CC, Vaccaro CM, Pancholy A, Kleeman S, Fellner AN, and Pauls R. Is female sexual dysfunction related to personality and coping? An exploratory study. Sex Med 2013;1:69–75.