Attitudes Toward and Frequency of Partner Interactions Among Women Reporting Decreased Sexual Desire


Lorraine Dennerstein, PhD, MBBS, FRANZCP, Office for Gender and Health, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3052, Australia. Tel: (61) 398638422; Fax: (61) 398638420; E-mail:


Introduction.  Limited published data address the impact of low sexual desire and interest on multiple domains of women's partnered relationships.

Aim.  To investigate associations between sexual interest and attitudes toward and frequency of partner interactions in women with reduced sexual desire.

Methods.  A cross-sectional study was conducted using market research databases to recruit women from the general community in the United States, Germany, and Italy. Telephone interviews screened women to obtain a sample aged 18–65 years, in a relationship, and upset/bothered by decreased sexual desire. A 60-minute face-to-face questionnaire was conducted in participants' homes.

Main Outcome Measures.  Attitudes Toward Partner Interactions (ATPI) index measured sexual and nonsexual partner interactions. Higher scores indicated more positive attitudes and a higher frequency of partner interactions. Sexual interest was assessed on a 6-point scale.

Results.  One thousand four hundred two of the 8,000 women screened met the inclusion criteria and agreed to participate (USA N = 600, Germany N = 402, Italy N = 400). A high percentage of participants reported that their sexual interest was absent to very weak (45%) or somewhat weak (43%). Mean ATPI scores increased significantly across sexual interest categories, from absent to very weak (3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.4 to 4.0) to somewhat weak (5.3, 95% CI 5.0 to 5.6) to somewhat strong or greater sexual interest (7.8, 95% CI 7.3 to 8.4) (one-way analysis of variance, effect size = 0.129, P = 0.001). Higher reported sexual interest was significantly associated with comparatively positive ATPI scores (above the median) (Phi-Kraemer, K = 0.194 P < 0.001).

Conclusion.  Clinicians need to be aware that women suffering from characteristics of hypoactive sexual desire disorder have more negative patterns of partner interactions. Dennerstein L, Hayes R, Sand M, and Lehert P. Attitudes toward and frequency of partner interactions among women reporting decreased sexual desire. J Sex Med 2009;6:1668–1673.