Aim. To review the literature on studies of sexuality after hysterectomy and to identify barriers to nursing assessment of this aspect of human functioning.
Methods. Articles published between 1970 and 2002 on female sexuality, hysterectomy, and nursing assessment of sexuality were located using MEDLINE, CINAHL, Psychlit and Sociofile databases. Study findings were reviewed in relation to the effect of hysterectomy on sexuality, as well as women's perspectives on hysterectomy. Barriers to nursing assessment of sexual functioning are described with suggestions for inclusion of this topic in practice.
Conclusions. There are very few nursing studies on the topic, which may reflect the lack of inclusion of sexual assessment and education in clinical practice. Reasons for this are discussed, and instruments used in sex research are described. There are a number of gaps in the knowledge base on to this topic. Future research in this area is needed to provide direction for nurses in this aspect of clinical practice.