Normative values for female genital sensation

Urology. 2000 Dec 20;56(6):1035-40. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(00)00850-5.


Objectives: Neurologic disorders might be responsible for many cases of female sexual dysfunction. Yet, they are currently undiagnosed because of the lack of measurement tools to assess genital neural function. Therefore, our objective is to provide norms for sensory thresholds in the vagina and clitoris, for a wide range of patient ages.

Methods: Vaginal and clitoral warm, cold, and vibratory sensory thresholds were measured in 89 healthy paid volunteers by the method of limits. Normograms were derived from this group of healthy volunteers. An additional 61 patients were also tested, for a total of 150 individuals. Sixty-two individuals (42 healthy volunteers and 20 patients) from the total group were tested twice to provide test-to-test repeatability data across the range of clinical (normal and abnormal) responses.

Results: Normograms are presented, providing age-corrected upper and lower normal values, expressed as 95% confidence limits for warm, cold, and vibratory thresholds. Intertest repeatability is also reported.

Conclusions: Thermal and vibratory thresholds of both the vaginal and clitoral region are clinically feasible, valid, and repeatable. These can be applied as a valuable diagnostic tool to assess neural dysfunction through sensory assessment of the female genitalia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Clitoris / physiology
  • Differential Threshold / physiology
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychophysics / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Thermosensing / physiology
  • Vagina / physiology
  • Vibration