Sexual dysfunction is common in midlife women and can have a significant negative impact on quality of life. Although treatments exist, there is little research on which sexual function outcomes and treatments midlife women prefer.
Twenty individual interviews and three focus groups (N = 39) were led by a trained facilitator, audio recorded, and transcribed. Two investigators developed a codebook, and the primary investigator coded all data. A second investigator coded five randomly selected interviews to ensure intercoder reliability. Codes relating to outcomes and treatment preferences were examined to identify central themes.
Strengths and Limitations
By using a qualitative approach, this study allowed women the time and space to speak their own words about their experiences with sexuality at midlife. In addition, different racial and ethnic groups and menopausal statuses were represented. Limitations include limited generalizability, as is true for most qualitative research. In addition, although most women did endorse sexual problems, we did not exclude women with no sexual complaints.
Midlife women value physical and emotional outcomes with regard to sexual function. Many midlife women in this sample expressed a preference for behavioral approaches over pharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of sexual dysfunction.
Thomas HN, Hamm M, Hess R, Borrero S, Thurston R. Patient-centered outcomes and treatment preferences regarding sexual problems: A qualitative study among midlife women. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2017; 14(8):1011-1017. PMID: 28647404. PMCID: PMC5538956.