Female Sexual Dysfunction as Measured by Low Sexual Frequency is Associated With Lower Socioeconomic Status: An Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2016

Joseph I. Kim, Denzel Zhu, Jonathan Davila, Justin Lee, Barbara M. Chubak, Michal L. Melamed, Nitya E. Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is a complex disorder of biopsychosocial etiology, and FSD symptoms affect more than 40% of adult women worldwide. Aim: In this cross-sectional study, we sought to investigate the association between FSD and socioeconomic status (SES) in a nationally representative female adult population. Methods: Economic and sexual data for women aged 20–59 from the 2007–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a United States nationwide representative database, was analyzed. Poverty income ratio (PIR), a ratio of family income to poverty threshold, was used as a measure of SES, and low sexual frequency was used as a measure of FSD. The association between FSD and SES was analyzed using survey-weighted logistic regression after adjusting for relevant social and gynecologic covariates, such as marital status and history of pregnancy, as well as significant medical comorbidities. Outcomes: We found that FSD, as measured by low sexual frequency, was associated with lower SES. Results: Among the 7,348 women of mean age 38.4 (IQR 29–47) included in the final analysis, 26.3% of participants reported sexual frequency of 0–11 times/year and 73.7% participants reported sexual frequency >11 times/year. Participants of PIR <2 were 92% more likely to report sexual frequency ≤11 times/year than those of PIR ≥2 after adjusting for demographics, social history, gynecologic history and significant medical conditions (OR = 1.92; 95% CI = 1.21–3.05; P < .006). Clinical Implications: The evaluation and treatment of FSD may benefit from a comprehensive approach that takes SES into account. Strengths & Limitations: This study is limited by its cross-sectional design, but it is strengthened by a large, nationally representative sample with extensive, standardized data ascertainment. Conclusion: Lower SES and lower sexual frequency are directly correlated among female adults in the United States; future studies should focus on social determinants of health as risk factors for FSD. Kim J.I., Zhu D., Davila J., et al. Female Sexual Dysfunction as Measured by Low Sexual Frequency is Associated With Lower Socioeconomic Status: An Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2016. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX–XXX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Female Sexual Dysfunction
  • Sexual Frequency
  • Sexual Health
  • Socioeconomic Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology

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