Most women don’t find sexual problems upsetting: Survey


Washington : The majority of women who experience low libido, poor arousal or face difficulties in orgasming, don’t seem upset by these problems.

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These findings are based on one of the largest ever studies of its kind, which probed 32,000 women aged between 18 and 100 plus years across the US, regarding distress bearing on sex life, including anger, guilt, frustration and worry.

“Sexual problems are common in women, but problems associated with personal distress, those which are truly bothersome and affect a woman’s quality of life, are much less frequent.” said Jan Shifren of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), who led the study.

Though women over 65 years faced most of sexual problems, they reported the lowest levels of distress. The most distressed were women aged 45 to 64, according to an MGH press release.

The youngest group, aged between 18 and 44 years, had lower levels of both problems and distress. Depressed women were more than twice as likely to report distress over any kind of sexual problem rather than non depressed women.

About 43 percent of respondents experienced some degree of sexual problem, with 39 percent reporting low desire, 26 percent problems with arousal and 21 percent difficulties with orgasm. But distress bearing on any of these problems was restricted only to 12 percent of the volunteers.

“Although sexual problems were very common in women over age 65, these problems often weren’t associated with distress,” Shifren, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Harvard Medical School, added.

“Several factors could be behind the lower levels of distress in the oldest group. If their partners also have low desire, it may not be looked on as a problem, or additional health issues could be of greater concern.

“While distressing sexual problems are much less common in women than sexual problems overall, they still affect approximately one in eight adult women,” she added.

“As part of a thorough health assessment, it’s important that health care providers ask their female patients if they have sexual concerns and if those problems are associated with distress,” she said.

The report will appear in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.