A longitudinal study of the effects of free testosterone and other psychosocial variables on sexual function during the natural traverse of menopause

Fertil Steril. 2005 Mar;83(3):643-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2004.08.028.


Objective: This study examines the effect of free T levels on sexual function during the natural traverse of menopause. Other psychosocial variables, which may also contribute to change in sexual function, are studied-including participant's job satisfaction, satisfaction with financial resources, confidence in ability to manage symptoms, stressful life events, exercise, body image, and quality of personal relationships.

Design: Prospective clinical study.

Setting: Clinical research center, university hospital.

Patient(s): Fifty-seven women between the ages of 45 and 55 years were enrolled at the beginning of the study. Thirty-seven women completed all but the final measurement of free T and 23 completed all aspects of the study at year 1 and year 5.

Intervention(s): Questionnaires were administered and blood samples obtained in year 1 and year 5.

Main outcome measure(s): Free T, sexual satisfaction, and other psychosocial variables.

Result(s): Exercise is the only variable significantly associated with sexual satisfaction. There was a lack of association between free T and sexual satisfaction both at year 1 and year 5.

Conclusion(s): Focus on the hormonal aspects of menopause has promoted a disregard of other important psychosocial factors affecting sexual function. This study shows no correlation between T levels and sexual function, whereas exercise is clearly associated with sexual satisfaction. A key area for future research is the effect of lifestyle changes on sexual function in menopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Menopause / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexuality / physiology*
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Testosterone