Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 233–243 | Cite as

Evaluation of Perceived Sexual Functioning in Women with Serious Mental Illnesses

  • Naira Roland MatevosyanEmail author
Original Paper


(A) To examine the impact of serious mental illness on female sexual functioning; (B) To determine personal and contextual barriers in sexual health of women with DSM-IV Axis-I disorders. A mixed-method study explores perceived sexual health in cross-section of 44 consentable women with serious mental illnesses (SMI). Subscales of sexual activity are used as measurable outcomes. History of sexual abuse (59%), long-term sex abstinence (72.7%), client-provider poor communications (86.3%), and lack of awareness (79.6%) are related to suboptimal sexual health of women with SMI. Satisfaction and pleasure from sexual experience are predominantly affected symptoms that confer higher means of psychotropic medications (4.8 ± 6.3), length of treatment (10.8 ± 9.1) and are partially mediated by the body-mass index, impaired interpersonal skills, and emotional lability. The defined barriers in sexual health inform that the needs of women with SMI in terms of sexual expression and intimacy are in practice ignored or poorly seen as problems. Taking a sexual history should be an integral part of psychiatric assessment.


Sexual health Mental illness Overweight Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale-24 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston UniversityBostonUSA

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