Correlates of sexual functioning among mid-life women

L. Gallicchio, C. Schilling, D. Tomic, S. R. Miller, H. Zacur, J. A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Studies have reported a decline in sexual functioning among women undergoing the menopausal transition. Few studies, however, have examined the associations between hormones and sexual dysfunction during this time period. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the associations between participant characteristics and endogenous hormones with sexual functioning in mid-life women. Methods: Data were analyzed from a community-based sample of 441 women aged 45-54 years who stated that they were sexually active at the time of the study. Each participant completed a survey that included questions pertaining to sexual functioning and provided a blood sample that was used to measure estrogen and androgen concentrations. Results: Among women who reported being sexually active, poorer self-reported health and the experiencing of depressive symptoms were significantly associated with not being satisfied with sexual relations after adjustment for other covariates. None of the hormones examined were significantly associated with overall sexual satisfaction. However, statistically significant associations between both total testosterone levels and the free testosterone index with satisfaction with the frequency of sexual relations were observed. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the experiencing of depressive symptoms and the reporting of poor overall health are important correlates of sexual dysfunction. Further, our results suggest that higher total and free testosterone levels are significantly associated with a desire for increased frequency of sexual relations among mid-life women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-142
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Hormones
  • Menopause
  • Mid-life
  • Sexual functioning
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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