Body image and female sexual functioning and behavior: a review

J Sex Res. 2012;49(2-3):184-211. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.658586.


Knowledge in the research fields of body image and sexuality has significantly increased in the last decade. In this review, data from 57 studies were compiled for a review of empirical evidence regarding the association between sexuality and body image among healthy women. The overall conclusion is that body image issues can affect all domains of sexual functioning. Cognitions and self-consciousness seem to be key factors in understanding the complex relationships between women's body image and sexuality. Body evaluations and cognitions not only interfere with sexual responses and experiences during sexual activity, but also with sexual behavior, sexual avoidance, and risky sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sexuality*