Improvement in Quality of Sexual Life in Female Partners of Men with Erectile Dysfunction Treated with Sildenafil Citrate: Findings of the Index of Sexual Life (ISL) in a Couple Study


Marie Chevret-Méasson, MD, Private practice in Psychiatry and Sexology, 283 rue de Créqui, 69007 LYON, FRANCE. Tel: (+33) 472 729 627; Fax: (+33) 478 720 574; E-mail:


Introduction.  Women's quality of sexual life is strongly impaired by erectile dysfunction (ED). Women's involvement in ED treatment is important for compliance and long-term efficacy but remains difficult. The Index of Sexual Life (ISL), specific of the quality of sexual life of women with ED partners, is used here to assess the impact of ED treatment on female partners.

Aim.  The study explored in a context close to routine clinical practice the effect of sildenafil citrate (Viagra®; Pfizer, New York, NY, USA) treatment on women's quality of sexual life, in parallel with men's ED evaluations.

Methods.  This prospective, open-labeled clinical trial was performed in France in 2006. Sexologists and andrologists recruited 67 volunteer couples for a 14-week sildenafil citrate treatment of male partners, without sex therapy in parallel.

Main Outcome Measures.  Women's quality of sexual life using ISL, and men's ED using International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and Self-Esteem And Relationship (SEAR) were assessed at baseline and at the end of the study. Satisfaction for treatment was measured using Erectile Dysfunction Inventory of Treatment Satisfaction (EDITS) and EDITS Partner.

Results.  The ISL sexual life satisfaction score was low at baseline (12.3), and increased by 8.3 during the study (P < 0.0001). Women were 79.0% to be responders according to ISL assessment. The other ISL dimensions also improved. The final ISL sexual life satisfaction score was dependant on women's age and final IIEF scores. The observed correlations between the ISL sexual life satisfaction dimension and the IIEF erectile function dimension, and the SEAR confidence dimension confirmed our assumptions. Both partners were highly satisfied with the treatment.

Conclusion.  Women satisfaction with their sex life was improved by ED treatment (sildenafil citrate). Couple global caring seemed to amplify the well-known effect of ED treatment for men. The ISL could be a useful tool to help women in their partner's treatment and to integrate ED treatment in a couple approach. Chevret-Méasson M, Lavallée E, Troy S, Arnould B, Oudin S, and Cuzin B. Improvement in quality of sexual life in female partners of men with erectile dysfunction treated with sildenafil citrate: Findings of the index of sexual life (ISL) in a couple study. J Sex Med 2009;6:761–769.