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J Health Psychol. 1996 Oct;1(4):479-92. doi: 10.1177/135910539600100406.

A Comparative Study of Sexual Experiences: Women with Diabetes and Women with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase Deficiency.

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Institute of Child Health, University of London, UK.


There has been little detailed study of the sexual outcome of women suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition which results in masculinization of the external genitalia and possible genital ambiguity at birth in chromosomal females. This study, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, reports the sexual outcome for a sample of women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH; N = 19), compared to that for an age-matched sample of women with early diagnosed diabetes (N =17). The results are given under the headings of sexual interest; sexual activity with partners; reasons for engaging in sexual behaviour; sexual activities; stimuli eliciting a sexual response; physical problems connected with sexual activities, and general issues. CAH women were found to be less sexually experienced in all areas, and reported higher levels of penetration difficulties, pain, and lubrication problems than the diabetic women. It is proposed that the contribution of psychological factors to these problems may be at least as great as that of medical/ surgical factors. Implications for management are considered.


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