Women in a new study who rated themselves as being sexually satisfied had higher overall positive well-being and vitality compared with sexually dissatisfied subjects. The research, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, set out to assess whether there was a correlation between sexual satisfaction and well-being.
"We wanted to explore the links between sexual satisfaction and wellbeing in women from the community, and to see if there was any difference between pre- and postmenopausal women," said lead author Dr Sonia Davison, of the Women's Health Program at Monash University, Australia. "We found that women who were sexually dissatisfied had lower well-being and lower vitality."
Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to determine if dissatisfied women had lower well-being because they were sexually dissatisfied, or if the reverse is true, such that women who started with lower well-being tended to secondarily have sexual dissatisfaction.
In contrast to studies of treatments for male erectile dysfunction, the benefit of treatment in women with sexual dysfunction cannot be measured simply by the frequency of sexual events, as women frequently continue to be sexually active despite a high level of sexual dissatisfaction. Thus the frequency of self-reported satisfactory sexual events has been used as the primary outcome in recent studies.
"The fact that women who self-identified as being dissatisfied maintained the level of sexual activity reported most likely represents established behavior and partner expectation," said co-researcher Susan Davis. "It also reinforces the fact that frequency of sexual activity in women cannot be employed as a reliable indicator of sexual well-being."
"This large study performed in the community emphasizes the role and importance of women's sexual health in women's overall health and well-being. Previous criticism equated physicians' efforts to improve a woman's satisfaction with her sexual life as medicalization. [This] research will help health professionals appreciate the need for overall women's healthcare to include women's sexual health care," noted Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
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Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine