Nav: Home

Most young women unhappy, stressed about their sex lives: Study

February 23, 2020

Half of young Australian women experience sexually-related personal distress, with one in five women having at least one female sexual dysfunction (FSD), new research by Monash University shows.

A study conducted by the Women's Health Research Program at Monash University has reported, for the first time, an overall picture of the sexual wellbeing of Australian women between the ages of 18 and 39. The findings have been published today (Monday 24 February 2020) in the international journal, Fertility and Sterility.

Results showed 50.2 per cent of young Australian women experienced some form of sexually-related personal distress. This relates to the degree of feeling guilty, embarrassed, stressed or unhappy about their sex lives.

A concerning 29.6 per cent of women experienced sexually-related personal distress without dysfunction, and 20.6 per cent had at least one FSD.

The most common FSD was low sexual self-image, which caused distress for 11 per cent of study participants. Arousal, desire, orgasm and responsiveness dysfunction affected 9 per cent, 8 per cent, 7.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent of the study cohort respectively.

Sexual self-image dysfunction was associated with being overweight, obese, living together with partner, not married, married and breastfeeding.

Taking psychotropic medication (such as antidepressants), reported by 20 per cent of surveyed women, had the most pervasive impact on sexual function. The use of the combined oral contraceptive pill was not associated with any sexual dysfunction.

"Sexual wellbeing is recognised as a fundamental human right. It is of great concern that one in five young women have an apparent sexual dysfunction and half of all women within this age group experience sexually-related personal distress," senior author and Professor of Women's Health at Monash University, Susan Davis, said.

"This is a wake-up call to the community and signals the importance of health professionals being open and adequately prepared to discuss young women's sexual health concerns."

The Grollo-Ruzzene Foundation Younger Women's Health Study, funded by Grollo Ruzzene Foundation, recruited 6986 women aged 18-39 years, living in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, to take part in the study.

All women completed a questionnaire that assessed their sexual wellbeing in terms of desire, arousal, responsiveness, orgasm, and self-image. Participants also evaluated whether they had sexually-associated personal distress and provided extensive demographic information.

Almost one-third of participants described themselves as single, 47 per cent had a body mass index within the normal range, and nearly 70 per cent had reported being sexually active in the 30 days preceding the study.

Women who habitually monitored their appearance, and for whom appearance determined their level of physical self-worth, reported being less sexually assertive and more self-conscious during intimacy, and experienced lower sexual satisfaction.

Professor Davis said if untreated, sexually-related personal distress and FSD could impact relationships and overall quality of life as women aged.

"The high prevalence of sexually-related personal distress signals the importance of health professionals, particularly those working in the fields of gynaecology and fertility, being adequately prepared to routinely ask young women about any sexual health concerns, and to have an appropriate management or referral pathway in place," Professor Davis said.
-end-
The study, titled 'The prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and sexually-related distress in young women: a cross-sectional survey', was authored by: Ms Jia Zheng, Dr Marina Skiba, Professor Robin Bell, Dr Rakibul Islam and Professor Susan Davis from Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

To download a copy of the paper, please visit https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2019.09.027

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

T: +61 3 9903 4840 E: media@monash.edu

Monash University

Related Health Articles:

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.
Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.
Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.
Geographic and health system correlates of interprofessional oral health practice
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health (Volume 6, Number 2, 2018, pp.
Bloomberg era's emphasis on 'health in all policies' improved New Yorkers' heart health
From 2002 to 2013, New York City implemented a series of policies prioritizing the public's health in areas beyond traditional healthcare policies and illustrated the potential to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Youth consider mobile health units a safe place for sexual health services
Mobile health units bring important medical services to communities across the country.
Toddler formulas and milks -- not recommended by health experts -- mislead with health claims
Misleading labeling on formulas and milks marketed as 'toddler drinks' may confuse parents about their healthfulness or necessity, finds a new study by researchers at the NYU College of Global Public Health and the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut.
Women's health has worsened while men's health has improved, trends since 1990 show
Swedish researchers have studied health trends among women and men aged 25-34 from 1990-2014.
Health insurance changes, access to care by patients' mental health status
A research letter published by JAMA Psychiatry examined access to care before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and after the ACA for patients grouped by mental health status using a scale to assess mental illness in epidemiologic studies.
Community health workers lead to better health, lower costs for Medicaid patients
As politicians struggle to solve the nation's healthcare problems, a new study finds a way to improve health and lower costs among Medicaid and uninsured patients.
More Health News and Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.