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Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 2000–2009 | Cite as

Correlates of Sexual Satisfaction Among Sexually Active Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative-Observational Study

  • Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld
  • Sarah A. Jaramillo
  • Claudine Legault
  • Karen M. Freund
  • Barbara B. Cochrane
  • JoAnn E. Manson
  • Nanette K. Wenger
  • Charles B. Eaton
  • Beatriz L. Rodriguez
  • S. Gene McNeeley
  • Denise Bonds
Original Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Satisfaction with sexual activity is important for health-related quality of life, but little is known about the sexual health of postmenopausal women.

OBJECTIVE

Describe factors associated with sexual satisfaction among sexually active postmenopausal women.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional analysis.

PARTICIPANTS

All members of the Women’s Health Initiative-Observational Study (WHI-OS), ages 50–79, excluding women who did not respond to the sexual satisfaction question or reported no partnered sexual activity in the past year (N = 46,525).

MEASUREMENTS

Primary outcome: dichotomous response to the question, “How satisfied are you with your sexual activity (satisfied versus unsatisfied)?” Covariates included sociodemographic factors, measures of physical and mental health, and gynecological variables, medications, and health behaviors related to female sexual health.

RESULTS

Of the cohort, 52% reported sexual activity with a partner in the past year, and 96% of these answered the sexual satisfaction question. Nonmodifiable factors associated with sexual dissatisfaction included age, identification with certain racial or ethnic groups, marital status, parity, and smoking history. Potentially modifiable factors included lower mental health status and use of SSRIs. The final model yielded a c-statistic of 0.613, reflecting only a modest ability to discriminate between the sexually satisfied and dissatisfied.

CONCLUSIONS

Among postmenopausal women, the variables selected for examination yielded modest ability to discriminate between sexually satisfied and dissatisfied participants. Further study is necessary to better describe the cofactors associated with sexual satisfaction in postmenopausal women.

KEY WORDS

sexual dysfunction physiological sexual dysfunctions psychological women menopause postmenopause cohort studies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding/Support

The Women’s Health Initiative program was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. McCall-Hosenfeld was supported by a Department of Veterans Affairs Special Fellowship in the Health Issues of Women Veterans when this research was performed.

Role of the Sponsor

The funding organization had representation on the steering committee, which governed the design and conduct of the study, the interpretation of the data, and the preparation and approval of manuscript. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Program Office reviewed the manuscript prior to publication.

WHI Investigators by Clinical Center

Program Office: (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD) Elizabeth Nabel, Jacques Rossouw, Shari Ludlam, Linda Pottern, Joan McGowan, Leslie Ford, and Nancy Geller.

Clinical Coordinating Center: (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA)

Ross Prentice, Garnet Anderson, Andrea LaCroix, Charles L. Kooperberg, Ruth E. Patterson, Anne McTiernan; (Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC) Sally Shumaker; (Medical Research Labs, Highland Heights, KY) Evan Stein; (University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA) Steven Cummings.

Clinical Centers: (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY) Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller; (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX) Aleksandar Rajkovic; (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) JoAnn Manson; (Brown University, Providence, RI) Annlouise R. Assaf; (Emory University, Atlanta, GA) Lawrence Phillips; (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA) Shirley Beresford; (George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC) Judith Hsia; (Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA) Rowan Chlebowski; (Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland, OR) Evelyn Whitlock; (Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, CA) Bette Caan; (Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Jane Morley Kotchen; (MedStar Research Institute/Howard University, Washington, DC) Barbara V. Howard; (Northwestern University, Chicago/Evanston, IL) Linda Van Horn; (Rush Medical Center, Chicago, IL) Henry Black; (Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, CA) Marcia L. Stefanick; (State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY) Dorothy Lane; (The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH) Rebecca Jackson; (University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL) Cora E. Lewis; (University of Arizona, Tucson/Phoenix, AZ) Tamsen Bassford; (University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY) Jean Wactawski-Wende; (University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA) John Robbins; (University of California at Irvine, CA) F. Allan Hubbell; (University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA) Lauren Nathan; (University of California at San Diego, LaJolla/Chula Vista, CA) Robert D. Langer; (University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH) Margery Gass; (University of Florida, Gainesville/Jacksonville, FL) Marian Limacher; (University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI) David Curb; (University of Iowa, Iowa City/Davenport, IA) Robert Wallace; (University of Massachusetts/Fallon Clinic, Worcester, MA) Judith Ockene; (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ) Norman Lasser; (University of Miami, Miami, FL) Mary Jo O’Sullivan; (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN) Karen Margolis; (University of Nevada, Reno, NV) Robert Brunner; (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC) Gerardo Heiss; (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA) Lewis Kuller; (University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN) Karen C. Johnson; (University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX) Robert Brzyski; (University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI) Gloria E. Sarto; (Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC) Mara Vitolins; (Wayne State University School of Medicine/Hutzel Hospital, Detroit, MI) Susan Hendrix.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Jaramillo
    • 2
  • Claudine Legault
    • 2
  • Karen M. Freund
    • 3
  • Barbara B. Cochrane
    • 4
  • JoAnn E. Manson
    • 5
  • Nanette K. Wenger
    • 6
  • Charles B. Eaton
    • 7
  • Beatriz L. Rodriguez
    • 8
  • S. Gene McNeeley
    • 9
  • Denise Bonds
    • 10
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine and Department of Public Health SciencesPennsylvania State University College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  2. 2.Division of Public Health SciencesWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.Women’s Health Unit, Department of Medicine and Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Research CenterBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Division of Preventive MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Division of CardiologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  7. 7.Brown UniversityMemorial Hospital of Rhode IslandPawtucketUSA
  8. 8.Departments of Geriatric Medicine, Public Health Sciences and EpidemiologyUniversity of HawaiiManoaUSA
  9. 9.Hutzel Women’s HealthWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  10. 10.Departments of Public Health Sciences and MedicineUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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