Sexual Function in Well Women: Stratification by Sexual Satisfaction, Hormone Use, and Menopause Status

Authors

  • Sonia L. Davison MBBS, FRACP, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Vic., Australia;
      Sonia L. Davison, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central & Eastern Clinical School, Monash Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Prahran Vic. 3181 Australia. Tel: +61 3 9903 0827; Fax: +61 3 9903 0828; E-mail: sonia.davison@med.monash.edu.au
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Robin J. Bell MBBS, FAFPHM, PhD,

    1. Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Vic., Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Maria LaChina Assoc Dip Med Sec Prac,

    1. Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Vic., Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Samantha L. Holden BSc,

    1. Raigmore Hospital Cancer Trials Unit, Inverness, Scotland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Susan R. Davis MBBS, FRACP, PhD

    1. Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Vic., Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author

Sonia L. Davison, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Central & Eastern Clinical School, Monash Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Prahran Vic. 3181 Australia. Tel: +61 3 9903 0827; Fax: +61 3 9903 0828; E-mail: sonia.davison@med.monash.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Satisfaction with sexual function in community-based women has not been well-described, and little is known of differences in sexual function between pre-(PreM) and postmenopausal (PM) women.

Aim.  The aim of this article was to describe sexual function in PreM and PM women who self-identify as being satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life.

Methods.  A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among 349 sexually active community-based women, aged 20–65 years, who self-identified as being either satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life.

Main Outcome Measures.  Scores from a daily diary of sexual function for 4 weeks, examining the frequency of sexual thoughts, interest, and activity.

Results.  One hundred and eighty-four women (53%) were PreM, and 165 (47%) were dissatisfied with their sexual life. The median number of days with sexual activity or events per month for all women was 8 (ranges 2–28 days; 2–57 events). Ninety-two percent of reported events involved a partner, 86% involved intercourse, and in 40% the woman initiated the activity. Women satisfied with their sexual life had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts, interest, events, and initiation of activity than dissatisfied women (P < 0.0001). PreM satisfied women had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts, numbers of days with sexual activity, and events per month than PM satisfied women (P < 0.05). PreM oral contraceptive pill (OCP) users had significantly lower average frequencies of sexual thoughts, interest, and days of sexual activity per month (P < 0.05), whereas PM women hormone therapy (HT) users had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts and sexual interest (P = 0.04 and P = 0.05, respectively) compared to nonusers. There were no differences in sexual function between PreM and PM women who were sexually dissatisfied.

Conclusions.  Sexual activity mostly involved a partner, partner initiation, and intercourse. Sexually satisfied women reported more sexual thoughts, interest, events, and initiation of sexual activity than dissatisfied women. PreM sexually satisfied women reported more sexual thoughts, days with sexual activity, and sexual events per month compared to PM satisfied women. OCP and HT use appeared to have contrasting effects on sexual function. Davison SL, Bell RJ, LaChina M, Holden SL, and Davis SR. Sexual function in well women: Stratification by sexual satisfaction, hormone use, and menopause status. J Sex Med 2008;5:1214–1222.

Ancillary