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Maturitas. 1997 Mar;26(2):83-93.

Sexuality, hormones and the menopausal transition.

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Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.



To assess the validity and reliability of a sexuality questionnaire, and to assess the relationship of sexual functioning to age, menopausal status and hormone levels.


Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort of 201 women aged 48-58 years in the fourth year of a longitudinal study. Sexual functioning was measured by self-completed questionnaire. E2, FSH. Inhibin, total T and SHBG were sampled on cycle days 4-8 or after 3 months of amenorrhoea.


Internal consistency, as measured by Cronbach's alpha, was 0.71. Six factors were found on principal components factor analysis: (1) Feelings for Partner, (2) Sexual Responsivity, (3) Sexual Frequency, (4) Libido, (5) Partner Problems and (6) Vaginal Dryness/Dyspareunia. Sexual Responsivity decreased with age (beta = -0.060, P = 0.05), and Vaginal Dryness/Dyspareunia decreased with log E2 (beta = -0.181. P < 0.001). Testosterone was not associated with the aspects of female sexual functioning measured in this study.


This longitudinal study found that most aspects of female sexual functioning were not affected by age, menopausal functioning or hormone levels.

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