Correlates of Sexual Satisfaction Among Sexually Active Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative-Observational Study
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Satisfaction with sexual activity is important for health-related quality of life, but little is known about the sexual health of postmenopausal women.
Describe factors associated with sexual satisfaction among sexually active postmenopausal women.
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).
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.
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.
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 WORDSsexual dysfunction physiological sexual dysfunctions psychological women menopause postmenopause cohort studies
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
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