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Resident Education and Training in Female Sexuality: Results of a National Survey


  • Funding source: n/a.

Apurva B. Pancholy, MD, 3219 Clifton Avenue, Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45220, USA. Tel: (513) 862-4171; Fax: (513) 862-4498; E-mail:


Introduction.  Considering the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction, the lack of education and training in female sexual function and dysfunction (FSF&D) during and obstetrics and gynecology residency highlights a need for greater focus on this topic.

Aim.  To assess understanding and confidence among third and fourth year Ob/Gyn residents with respect to FSF&D.

Methods.  An Internet-based survey was constructed to evaluate third and fourth year residents in American Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved Ob/Gyn programs. Residents were asked about familiarity, knowledge, and confidence in treating various aspects of FSF&D, based on the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) Educational Objectives for Ob/Gyn training. They were also queried regarding areas of improvement for their education.

Main Outcome Measure.  Responses to survey instrument.

Results.  Two hundred thirty-four residents responded. The majority (91.5%) reported attending ≤5 didactic activities on FSF&D. Only 19.6% reported often or always screening women for sexual function problems; most had very little or no knowledge in administering or interpreting screening questionnaires. While many (82.8%) felt confident about obtaining a complete sexual history, only 54.7% felt able to perform a targeted physical exam. Although most residents had cared for women with dyspareunia (55.1%), a minority had managed many women with low desire (18.4%), arousal problems (8.1%), anorgasmia (5.6%), or vaginismus (16.7%). In treating patients, 34–56% reported rarely or never suggesting ancillary therapy such as counseling and medications. However, the majority believed that their confidence would increase through FSF&D lectures (97.9%), FSF&D patient observations (97.4%), rotating with a urogynecologist (94.4%), and online modules (90.6%).

Conclusion.  Despite CREOG requirements for Ob/Gyn training in female sexuality, most residents feel ill-equipped to address these problems. Additional evidence-based educational and didactic activities would enhance residents' knowledge and confidence in treating these common, quality-of-life issues. Pancholy AB, Goldenhar L, Fellner AN, Crisp C, Kleeman S, and Pauls R. Resident education and training in female sexuality: Results of a national survey. J Sex Med 2011;8:361–366.