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Female Sexual Arousal Disorder with and without a Distress Criterion: Prevalence and Correlates in a Representative Czech Sample


  • [Correction added after online publication 15-Sep-2009: reference to unpublished data have been removed.]

Stuart Brody, PhD, School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley , PA1 2BE, UK. Tel: 44 141 849 4020; Fax: 44 141 8483891; E-mail:


Introduction.  Sexual medicine would benefit from large representative surveys examining the prevalence of genital female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) symptoms (with and without the increasingly controversial distress criterion), as well as novel FSAD correlates and potential “protective” factors.

Aims.  To examine the extent to which genital FSAD symptoms, with and without a distress criterion, are associated with both historical and current aspects of sexual behavior.

Methods.  In a representative sample of the Czech population (aged 15–88), 1,000 women were asked whether they currently have impaired lubrication and vaginal swelling (and if so, if this produces marked distress or interpersonal difficulty). They provided details of vaginal orgasm (induced by penile–vaginal intercourse [PVI] without clitoral masturbation) consistency, feelings during their first PVI, estimates of their typical foreplay and PVI durations, their degree of mental focus on vaginal sensations during PVI, among other factors.

Main Outcome Measures.  The current prevalence of FSAD with and without a distress criterion and their associations with current and antecedent sexual behaviors and responses.

Results.  The current prevalence of FSAD was 10.3% without, plus 7.5% with a distress criterion (which tended to be associated with more impairments than without distress). History of vaginal orgasm (odds ratio = 2.78), never masturbating (odds ratio = 2.4), not having felt pain and discomfort on first PVI (odds ratio = 2.27), and not having frequent anal intercourse are protective against FSAD with distress, but not without distress. Age (especially over 50) and inadequate focusing of mental attention on vaginal sensations during PVI are associated with increased FSAD risk both with and without distress.

Conclusions.  FSAD with and without distress appear to be different entities to some extent, with the distressed group showing more long-term signs of psychosexual impairment. We suggest that FSAD with and without distress be considered two different disorders. Weiss P, and Brody S. Female sexual arousal disorder with and without a distress criterion: Prevalence and correlates in a representative Czech sample. J Sex Med 2009;6:3385–3394.