The high prevalence of sexual concerns among women seeking routine gynecological care

J Fam Pract. 2000 Mar;49(3):229-32.


Background: Sexuality is an important part of health, quality of life, and general wellbeing. Studies indicate that less than half of patients' sexual concerns are known by their physicians, and physicians are unaware of how common these sexual concerns are in their practices. Our objective was to determine the prevalence and type of sexual concerns among women seeking routine gynecological care.

Methods: We mailed the survey in waves. Of 1480 women seeking routine gynecological care from the departments of Family Practice and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Madigan Army Medical Center between August 1992 and January 1993, 964 responded. The main outcome measures were self-reported sexual concerns and their experiences with discussing these concerns with a physician.

Results: A A total of 98.8% of the women we surveyed reported one or more sexual concerns. The most frequently reported concerns were lack of interest (87.2%), difficulty with orgasm (83.3%), inadequate lubrication (74.7%), dyspareunia (71.7%), body image concerns (68.5%), unmet sexual needs (67.2%), and needing information about sexual issues (63.4%). More than half reported concerns about physical or sexual abuse, and more than 40% reported sexual coercion at some point in their lives.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that sexual health concerns are prevalent for women seeking routine gynecological care. Sexual health inquiry should be a regular and important part of health care maintenance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Family Practice* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Medicine
  • Military Personnel / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Washington