The prevalence of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in Australian and Iranian women at midlife

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OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to examine whether the prevalence of low sexual desire, sexually related personal distress, and epidemiological hypoactive sexual desire disorder (eHSDD) differed between midlife Australian and Iranian married women. METHODS: Cross-sectional, community-based studies of women aged 40 to 65 years conducted in Australia (2013-2014, n = 2,020) and Iran (2016-2017, n = 1,520) included 60% and 89% married women, respectively. Participants completed the Female Sexual Function Index and the Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised. eHSDD was defined as low desire with sexually related personal distress. RESULTS: Restricting the analysis to married women, 76.5% of the 1,210 Australian women, mean age (SD) 52.4 (6.8) years, and 87.8% of the 1,348 Iranian women, mean age 48.5 (6.7) years who were recently sexually active. Low desire was more prevalent in Australian women than Iranian women (68.8%, 95% CI 66.1-71.3 vs 51.3%, 95% CI 48.6-53.9, P < 0.001) as were sexually related personal distress (47.6%, 95% CI 44.8-50.4 vs 17.2%, 95% CI 15.3-19.3, P < 0.001) and eHSDD (39.7%, 95% CI 36.9-42.5 vs 13.9%, 95% CI 12.2-15.9, P < 0.001). Being sexually inactive, versus sexually active, was associated with low desire, sexually related personal distress and eHSDD in Australian women (P < 0.001), but only with low desire in Iranian women (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of eHSDD in married Australian women at midlife was threefold that of Iranian women, primarily due to the higher prevalence of sexually related personal distress. The results were only adjusted for age and sexual activity, and analyses did not account for other observed differences between the study populations. Hence, future studies are warranted to explore if the differences between the two populations are due to variations in demographics such as level of education or employment and/or due to expectations, experiences, or beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1280
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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