Sexual activity is an important dimension of quality of life. Therefore it is important to assess the impact that any treatment may have on sexual functioning so that patients can be warned of possible side effects and interventions offered to help ameliorate these. The Sexual Activity Questionnaire (SAQ) was developed to investigate the impact of long-term tamoxifen on the sexual functioning of women at high risk of developing breast cancer. It was also tested on a sample of women with no such risk. The majority of variance in sexual functioning can be explained by three factors: pleasure from sexual intercourse, discomfort during sexual intercourse and habit. We found that the frequency of sexual activity decreased steadily with age. Furthermore, pleasure dropped and discomfort increased in women aged over 55. We report psychometric data showing that the SAQ is a valid, reliable and acceptable measure for describing the sexual functioning of women in terms of activity, pleasure and discomfort. It is quick and easy to administer and has good face validity discriminating between the sexual functioning of pre- and post-menopausal women.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Cuzick J, Baum M. Tamoxifen and contralateral breast cancer. Lancet 1985; i: 282.
Derogatis LR. Psychological assessment of psychosexual functioning. Psychiat Clin N Am 1980; 3: 113–131.
LoPiccolo J and Steger JC. The sexual interaction inventory: A new instrument for assessment of sexual dysfunction. Arc Sex Beh 1974; 3: 585–595.
Snell WE and Papini DR. The Sexuality Scale: An instrument to measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression and sexual-preoccupation. J Sex Res 1989; 26: 256–263.
Norusis MJ. SPSS/PC+ Statistics 4.0. Illinois: SPSS Inc, 1990: B125–152.
Stone AB and Pearlstein TB. Evaluation and treatment of changes in mood, sleep, and sexual functioning associated with menopause. Obs Gyn Clin N Am 1994; 21: 391–403.
Sherwin BB. Sex hormones and psychological functioning in post menopausal women. Exp Geron 1994; 29: 423–430.
Hunter MS, Battersby R, Whitehead M. Relationships between psychological symptoms, somatic complaints and menopausal status. Maturitas 1986; 8: 217–228.
McCoy NL and Davidson JM. A longitudinal study of the effects of menopause on sexuality. Maturitis 1985; 7: 203–210.
Kinsey AC, Pomeroy WB, Martin CE, Gebhard PH. Sexual behaviour in the human female. Philadelphia: WB Saunders. 1953.
Hallstrom T, Samuelsson S. Changes in women's sexual desire in middle life: The longitudinal study of women in Gothenburg. Arch Sex Behav 1990; 19: 259–268.
The CRC provided financial support for this study. Dr. Amanda Rameriz was involved in the development of the SAQ.
About this article
Cite this article
Thirlaway, K., Fallowfield, L. & Cuzick, J. The Sexual Activity Questionnaire: A measure of women's sexual functioning. Qual Life Res 5, 81–90 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00435972
- quality of life assessment
- sexual activity
- sexual functioning