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Almost Half of Women Have Sexual Problems
Date:10/31/2008

But study found only 12% are upset about it

FRIDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In a double whammy for the female gender, new research shows that 40 percent of women report sexual problems, but only 12 percent are distressed about it.

"The good news is that 12 percent is a very different number than 40 percent," said study author Dr. Jan Shifren, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vincent Menopause Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston.

But 12 percent of 83 million U.S. women aged 20 to 65 is nothing to scoff at, noted a related editorial in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The research was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim International, maker of flibanserin, a drug for female sexual dysfunction that is currently being tested in clinical trials.

Previous surveys have reported similar estimates of female sexual dysfunction, including low desire and problems with orgasm. The most widely quoted figure, from the U.S. National Health and Social Life Survey, is 43 percent.

However, few of those surveys have looked at distress, despite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association and U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines require such distress as part of the diagnostic criteria.

This study included almost 32,000 female respondents aged 18 and older.

Overall, 43.1 percent of those surveyed reported some kind of sexual problem: 39 percent reported diminished desire, 26 percent reported problems with arousal, and 21 percent problems with achieving orgasm.

Only 12 percent, however, reported significant personal distress associated with this problem.

And there were age differences. "The highest prevalence of sexual dysfunction was in older women, but they experienced less associated distress," Shifren said. "The most distress occurred at
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