Relationship Between Female Sexual Difficulties and Mental Health in Patients Referred to Two Public and Private Settings in Tehran, Iran


Ali Reza Shafiee Kandjani, Shaheed Beheshti Medical University; Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Complex, Imam Hossein Hospital, Shaheed Madani (Nezam Abad) St., Tehran, Iran. POBox 16179. Tel: +98 914 415 0670; Fax: +98 2177551023; E-mail:


Introduction.  Sexual difficulty has various effects on patients suffering from this condition that can impact on interpersonal and marital relationships. Sexual function may be adversely affected by stress of any kind and emotional disorders. There have been limited studies focusing on the mental health of those suffering from this problem.

Aim.  To determine the relationship between sexual difficulties and mental health in female patients seeking help in psychiatric clinics.

Methods.  The study was based on the case–control design methodology in which the case group consisted of 165 outpatients of two psychiatric clinics, who were diagnosed with different mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, phobia, aggression, and somatic complaints (33 subjects for each type of disorder). The 33 subjects in the control group were chosen among the patients’ relatives and visitors who had no history of either seeking psychiatric help or taking psychiatric drugs. The subjects of both case and control groups were selected based on a convenience sampling method. Moreover, the data were collected based on two techniques of “interview” and “questionnaire;” the latter was of three different subcategories, each dealt with demographic characteristics, sexual difficulties, and a Symptom Check-List-90-Revised.

Main Outcome Measure.  Assessing female sexual difficulties associated with mental health and differences between women with and without psychiatric problems.

Results.  The obtained results indicated that there was a significant difference between the prevalence of sexual difficulties (e.g., sexual desire and orgasm disorders) in the case group and that of the control group. It was also revealed that there was a significant difference between the depressed, aggressive, as well as those with somatic complaints, and their control group counterparts.

Conclusions.  In Iran, sexual difficulties seem to be more frequent in those seeking psychiatric help in clinics than in those within the normal population. Azar M, Noohi S, and Shafiee Kandjani AR. Relationship between female sexual difficulties and mental health in patients referred to two public and private settings in Tehran, Iran. J Sex Med 2007;4;1262–1268.