Presence of a sexual problem may not affect women's satisfaction from their sexual function

J Sex Med. 2008 Mar;5(3):631-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00644.x. Epub 2007 Oct 30.


Introduction: It has been proposed that women's sexual problems/dysfunctions, in the absence of personal and interpersonal distress, may have little clinical importance, as they may not necessarily affect women's sexual satisfaction. However, data are missing to support such interpretation.

Aim: The objective of the present study was to examine whether the presence of a sexual problem necessary affects women's satisfaction with sexual function.

Method: The study included 164 women who visited a general hospital because of symptoms not related to their sexual function and were asked to complete voluntarily and anonymously demographic data and two questionnaires.

Main outcome measures: Women completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)--an instrument which evaluates women sexual function--and the Symptom Checklist of Sexual Function-women version (SCSF-w), a screening tool of women's self-perception of sexual function.

Results: Mean patients' age was 43 +/- 12.6 (18-72) years. According to the FSFI, 48.8% of the participants had a sexual dysfunction. However, based on their self-perception of sexual function (SCSF), 80.5% of the sample declared to be satisfied with their sexual function, despite the fact that 69.5% of them reported at least one sexual problem. Of all women, only 26.2% would like to talk about their sexual problem(s) with a doctor (57.4% of those who are "bothered" by their sexual symptoms). Logistic regression analysis revealed no association between any sexual dysfunction and women's satisfaction from their sexual function.

Conclusion: Despite the presence of sexual problem(s), women may be satisfied with their sexual function, but half of those who are bothered would like to talk about it with their doctor. The presence of a sexual problem or its severity is not a determinant of women's help-seeking behavior. Such data strongly support current definitions of women's sexual dysfunction, where the presence of personal distress has been included as a crucial dimension.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Concept*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires