Changes in women's sexual desire in middle life: The longitudinal study of women in Gothenburg
In a general population survey, 677 urban middle-aged women were interviewed about their sexual desire at two occasions 6 years apart. Data from 497 subjects, who were married at both occasions or were cohabiting with a male partner, were analyzed. Twenty-seven percent reported a decrease in sexual desire between interviews, and 10% experienced an increased desire. There were no clear cohort differences. A decrease in sexual desire was predicted by age, high sexual desire at first interview, lack of a confiding relationship, insufficient support from spouse, alcoholism in spouse, and major depression. Predictors of an increase of sexual desire were weak desire at first interview, negative marital relations before first interview, and mental disorder at first interview. Although sexual desire showed considerable stability over time, a substantial proportion of married middle-aged women experienced major changes, mostly as a decrease. Age, psychosocial factors associated with quality of marital relationship, and mental health were major contributors towards change in sexual desire.
Key wordssexual dysfunction sexual desire women middle life longitudinal study marital relations life events mental disorder sociodemographic factors
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