The relationship between self-reported sexual satisfaction and general well-being in women

J Sex Med. 2009 Oct;6(10):2690-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01406.x.


Introduction: The extent to which low sexual function or sexual dissatisfaction in women impacts on well-being remains uncertain, yet this is a critical issue in the controversy as to the benefits of pharmacotherapy for women seeking treatment for female sexual dysfunction. Aim. To explore the relationship between well-being and self-perceived satisfaction with sexual function in women and to determine if there is an independent effect of menopausal status or age.

Design: A community-based cross-sectional study.

Patients: A total of 421 women, aged 18 to 65 years were recruited from the community. Women were required to self-identify at study outset as being either satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life and be premenopausal or postmenopausal.

Main outcome measures: Scores from the Psychological General Well-Being Index (PGWB), the Beck Depression Index (BDI) and a daily diary of sexual function.

Results: A group of 349 women were included in the analysis. Total PGWB and domain scores of positive well-being and vitality were lower in dissatisfied women compared to satisfied women. PGWB total and domain scores of depressed mood, positive well-being and vitality were higher in older women. Menopause did not have an independent effect on well-being.

Conclusions: Women who self-identify as having sexual dissatisfaction have lower psychological general well-being. These findings reinforce the importance of addressing sexual health and well-being in women as an essential component of their health care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Arousal
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Menopause / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Psychometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / complications*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Sexuality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult