Send to

Choose Destination
Climacteric. 1999 Dec;2(4):254-62.

Factors affecting sexual functioning of women in the mid-life years.

Author information

Office for Gender and Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Charles Connibere Building, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.



To model the interaction of hormones, symptoms and psychosocial factors on women's sexuality during the menopausal transition.


A prospective, observational study was carried out of a community-based sample of 438 Australian-born women aged 45-55 years at baseline. The study comprised six annual assessments in the women's own homes utilizing a core questionnaire, with rating scales for well-being and daily hassles, and a Personal Experiences Questionnaire as a measure of sexual functioning. Levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol and inhibin were measured annually. Statistical analysis was performed by structural equation modelling.


The retention rate was 90% (final sample size after exclusions, n = 354). The normal fit index for the global model obtained was 0.92. There is a significant direct effect of menopausal status on vaginal dryness/dyspareunia, and an indirect effect on sexual responsivity via a direct effect of menopausal status on symptoms, which then affect well-being. Menopausal status reflects hormonal status. Feelings for the partner and the partner's sexual problems have direct effects on different aspects of sexual functioning. Other social variables such as paid work, interpersonal stress, daily hassles and educational level affect sexual functioning indirectly via effects on symptoms and well-being.


Psychosocial factors, symptoms and the menopausal transition affect women's sexual functioning during the mid-life years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center