Self-Assessment of Genital Anatomy and Sexual Function within a Belgian, Dutch-Speaking Female Population: A Validation Study

Authors

  • Guy Bronselaer MA,

    1. Department of Urology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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    • Joint first authorship.
  • Nina Callens MA,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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    • Joint first authorship.
  • Petra De Sutter MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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  • Griet De Cuypere MD, PhD,

    1. Center of Sexology and Gender Problems, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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  • Guy T'Sjoen MD, PhD,

    1. Center of Sexology and Gender Problems, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
    2. Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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  • Martine Cools MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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  • Piet Hoebeke MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Urology, University Hospital Ghent and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
    • Corresponding Author: Piet Hoebeke, MD, PhD, Department of Urology, University Hospital Ghent, De Pintelaan 185, Ghent 9000, Belgium. Tel: +32 9 332 22 76; Fax: +32 9 332 38 89; E-mail: Piet.Hoebeke@uzgent.be

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Abstract

Introduction

Data on self-perceived genital anatomy and sensitivity should be part of the long-term follow-up of genitoplasty procedures. However, no normative data, based on a large sample, exist to date.

Aims

Validation of the Self-Assessment of Genital Anatomy and Sexual Function, Female version (SAGAS-F) questionnaire within a Belgian, Dutch-speaking female population.

Methods

Seven hundred forty-nine women with no history of genital surgery (aged 18–69 years, median 25 years) completed an Internet-based survey of whom 21 women underwent a gynecological examination as to correlate self-reported genital sensitivity assessed in an experimental setting.

Main Outcome Measures

The SAGAS-F enables women to rate the sexual pleasure, discomfort, intensity of orgasm, and effort required for achieving orgasm in specified areas around the clitoris and within the vagina, as well as genital appearance. The latter was similarly evaluated by an experienced gynecologist, and women were asked to functionally rate the anatomical areas pointed out with a vaginal swab.

Results

Sexual pleasure and orgasm were strongest, and effort to attain orgasm and discomfort was lowest when stimulating the clitoris and sides of the clitoris (P < 0.05). Vaginal sensitivity increased with increasing vaginal depth, but overall orgasmic sensitivity was lower as compared with the clitoris. Functional scores on the SAGAS-F and during gynecological examination corresponded highly on most anatomical areas (P < 0.05). Gynecologist's ratings corresponded highly with the women's ratings for vaginal size (90%) but not for clitoral size (48%).

Conclusions

Replication of the original pilot study results support the validity of the questionnaire. The SAGAS-F discriminates reasonably well between various genital areas in terms of erotic sensitivity. The clitoris itself appeared to be the most sensitive, consistent with maximum nerve density in this area. Surgery to the clitoris could disrupt neurological pathways and compromise erotic sensation and pleasure. Bronselaer G, Callens N, De Sutter P, De Cuypere G, T'Sjoen G, Cools M, and Hoebeke P. Self-assessment of genital anatomy and sexual function in women (SAGAS-F): Validation within a Belgian, Dutch-speaking population. J Sex Med 2013;10:3006–3018.

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