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Keywords:

  • Female Sexual Dysfunction;
  • Help-Line;
  • Sexual Behavior;
  • Quality of Life

ABSTRACT

Purpose.  To report female sexual problems and concerns, as presented by women calling a help-line, and to evaluate women's help-seeking behavior regarding sexual matters.

Materials and Methods.  The study included all telephone calls from women who called for sexual concerns to a help-line dedicated to sexual problems during a 5-year period. During the call, the counselor addresses demographic characteristics of the caller, the sexual problem reported, their sexual function, any previous doctor contacts, coexisting physical and mental health problems, couple's relationship, and lifestyle factors that may influence sexual function. Data processing employed descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis in order to detect possible associations between categorical variables.

Results.  Of a total of 3,523 calls made by women, 2,287 full forms were analyzed, reflecting a response rate of 64.9%. Most women (46.6%) called for problems encountered by their partners, 45.1% called for their own sexual problems, while 5.9% were calling for their children. Only 34.3% of them had already consulted a doctor. The most frequently reported difficulties were achieving orgasm (25.6%), reduced sexual desire (16.9%), and pain during intercourse (6.1%). Women in the 40–49 age group had the higher odds ratios for the sexual problems reported (reduced sexual desire: odds ratio [OR] 5.0; difficulties achieving orgasm: OR 6.3; pain during intercourse: OR 5.8). Both married and single women had high risk of experiencing low levels of sexual desire (40% and 30%, respectively).

Conclusions.  Women's sexual concerns are not devoted to their sexual problems, but also their partner's and children's problems. Most frequently reported sexual problems are difficulties in reaching orgasm and reduced sexual desire. However, women are reluctant to seek medical advice on their sexual concerns. There is a need for general practitioners and family doctors to become aware of the possibility of a sexual problem and to be trained on how to manage this at a primary care level. Papaharitou S, Nakopoulou E, Kirana P, Iraklidou M, Athanasiadis L, and Hatzichristou D. Women's sexual concerns: data analysis from a help-line. J Sex Med 2005;2:652–657.