Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women: results of a survey study of 329 women in an outpatient gynecological clinic

J Sex Marital Ther. 1993 Fall;19(3):171-88. doi: 10.1080/00926239308404902.


Few studies have investigated the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in nonclinical samples. In the present study, a standardized sexual function questionnaire was administered to 329 healthy women, aged 18-73 years, all of whom were enrolled in a Women's Wellness Center. About two-thirds of the sample were married or living with a partner, and most women were employed outside of the home. A broad range of sexual behavior frequencies were observed, with 48.5% reporting at least weekly intercourse, compared to 28.4% who were not sexually active at the time of study. Among the most common sexual problems reported were anxiety or inhibition during sexual activity (38.1%), lack of sexual pleasure (16.3%), and difficulty in achieving orgasm (15.4%). Other common problems were lack of lubrication (13.6%) and painful intercourse (11.3%), each of which was significantly more prevalent in the postmenopausal group. Despite these difficulties, 68.6% of the sample rated their overall sexual relationship as satisfactory. Age and relationship status were significant predictors of sexual satisfaction, with older women and singles reporting a higher incidence of sexual problems. Educational level, religious affiliation, and employment status were not predictive of sexual dysfunction in the present study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Postmenopause
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health*