Sexuality in Brazilian women aged 40 to 65 years with 11 years or more of formal education: associated factors

Ana L Valadares, Aarão M Pinto-Neto, Maria J Osis, Délio M Conde, Maria H Sousa, Lúcia Costa-Paiva
Menopause: the Journal of the North American Menopause Society 2008, 15 (2): 264-9

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate factors associated with the sexuality of middle-aged women.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional, population-based survey using an anonymous self-response questionnaire. A total of 276 Brazilian-born women, 40 to 65 years old with at least 11 years of formal education, participated in the study. The evaluation instrument was based on the Short Personal Experiences Questionnaire. Seven components were analyzed: satisfaction in sexual activities, orgasm, intensity of desire, self-classification of sexual life, frequency of arousal, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies. Sociodemographic, clinical, behavioral, and reproductive factors were evaluated. Data were analyzed using the chi and Fisher exact tests and Poisson multiple regression analysis. Prevalence ratios (PRs) and their 95% CIs were calculated.

RESULTS: The median sexuality score was 9 (range, 2.45-13.77). Bivariate analysis indicated that being 50 years of age or older; in the menopausal transition or postmenopause; not having a sexual partner; reporting hot flushes, insomnia, depression, nervousness, sedentary lifestyle, arterial hypertension, or urinary incontinence; and poor self-perception of health were significantly associated with a below median sexuality score. Multiple regression analysis showed that the prevalence of below median scores was higher in older women (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01-1.05) and in those with insomnia (PR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.08-1.96). Having a sexual partner (PR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.50-0.92) and feeling well (PR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.57-0.94) was associated with a protective effect against a below median sexuality score.

CONCLUSIONS: Older women and those with insomnia were more likely to have a low sexuality score, whereas those with a sexual partner and who felt well were less likely to have a low sexuality score.

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