The brief index of sexual functioning for women (BISF-W): a new scoring algorithm and comparison of normative and surgically menopausal populations

Menopause. 2000 Sep-Oct;7(5):350-63. doi: 10.1097/00042192-200007050-00009.


Objective: To develop a new scoring algorithm for the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women (BISF-W) and to compare results from a normative population with those from a clinical sample of surgically menopausal women with impaired sexual function.

Design: The scoring algorithm provided an overall composite score and seven dimension scores: D1 (thoughts/desires), D2 (arousal), D3 (frequency of sexual activity), D4 (receptivity/initiation), D5 (pleasure/orgasm), D6 (relationship satisfaction), and D7 (problems affecting sexual function). The normative population consisted of 225 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 55 years; 187 had regular sexual partners and 38 did not. The clinical sample comprised 104 women in the same age range (with partners), who reported that their sex lives had become less active or less satisfying after surgery (bilateral oophorectomy and hysterectomy), despite standard estrogen replacement therapy.

Results: The BISF-W composite and dimension scores for healthy women with partners were significantly greater (p < 0.001) than for women without partners, except for D1, which was comparable in both groups. For healthy women with partners, the composite and dimension scores (D1, D3, and D5) decreased significantly with increasing age (p < 0.05). In comparison, surgically menopausal women had significantly lower composite and dimension scores (p < 0.001), with the exception of D7, which was significantly higher (more problems). As a percent of the normative means for healthy women with partners, the dimension scores for surgically menopausal women were lowest for D1--47.2%, D3--46.9%, and D5--46.1%.

Conclusions: This research provides further validation of the BISF-W as an instrument for evaluating female sexual function and quantifies the nature and degree of impaired sexual function in surgically menopausal women.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovariectomy
  • Postmenopause*
  • Reference Values
  • Sexuality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Women's Health