Sexual function in a community sample of middle-aged women with partners: effects of age, marital, socioeconomic, psychiatric, gynecological, and menopausal factors.
Hawton K., Gath D., Day A.
A randomly selected community sample of 436 women with partners was studied with regard to frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasm with their partners and to attitudes to their sexual relationships. Associations were examined between these factors and demographic, psychiatric, marital, gynecological, and menopausal status. Frequency of sexual intercourse, orgasm, and enjoyment of sexual activity with the partner were most closely associated with younger age and better general marital adjustment, with the partners' ages also appearing to influence frequency of sexual intercourse and the duration of the relationships to affect enjoyment of sexual activity. Women's satisfaction with their sexual relationships was most closely associated with marital adjustment and bore no relation to age. Weak positive associations were found between higher socioeconomic status and frequency of orgasm and enjoyment of sexual activity. Psychiatric factors (psychiatric disorder and neuroticism) made little contribution to differences in frequency of sexual activity although they were associated with attitudes towards it. Sexual behavior was largely unrelated to gynecological symptoms. Little difference was found between age-matched subgroups of pre- and postmenopausal women in frequency of sexual behavior and attitudes towards their sexual relationships.