Introduction: Satisfaction with sexual function in community-based women has not been well-described, and little is known of differences in sexual function between pre-(PreM) and postmenopausal (PM) women.
Aim: The aim of this article was to describe sexual function in PreM and PM women who self-identify as being satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among 349 sexually active community-based women, aged 20-65 years, who self-identified as being either satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life.
Main outcome measures: Scores from a daily diary of sexual function for 4 weeks, examining the frequency of sexual thoughts, interest, and activity.
Results: One hundred and eighty-four women (53%) were PreM, and 165 (47%) were dissatisfied with their sexual life. The median number of days with sexual activity or events per month for all women was 8 (ranges 2-28 days; 2-57 events). Ninety-two percent of reported events involved a partner, 86% involved intercourse, and in 40% the woman initiated the activity. Women satisfied with their sexual life had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts, interest, events, and initiation of activity than dissatisfied women (P < 0.0001). PreM satisfied women had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts, numbers of days with sexual activity, and events per month than PM satisfied women (P < 0.05). PreM oral contraceptive pill (OCP) users had significantly lower average frequencies of sexual thoughts, interest, and days of sexual activity per month (P < 0.05), whereas PM women hormone therapy (HT) users had higher frequencies of sexual thoughts and sexual interest (P = 0.04 and P = 0.05, respectively) compared to nonusers. There were no differences in sexual function between PreM and PM women who were sexually dissatisfied.
Conclusions: Sexual activity mostly involved a partner, partner initiation, and intercourse. Sexually satisfied women reported more sexual thoughts, interest, events, and initiation of sexual activity than dissatisfied women. PreM sexually satisfied women reported more sexual thoughts, days with sexual activity, and sexual events per month compared to PM satisfied women. OCP and HT use appeared to have contrasting effects on sexual function.