09/16/2009 - News

How depression influences women's sex lives

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Women with a history of depression get less pleasure from sex, according to a new survey. Mood is likely to have an influence on many aspects of sexuality, such as desire and satisfaction. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, now report on how depression impacts on women's sexuality.

Their findings come from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, which covers nearly 1,000 women aged 42 to 52. The researchers divided the women into three categories - no history of depression, experience of one episode of major depression and having had more than one such episode.

As has been found previously, women with recurrent depression had less frequent sexual arousal, less physical pleasure and less emotional satisfaction in their relationships. This was compared to the other two groups. These women also had higher levels of masturbation. But there was no difference between the three groups in sexual desire or level of sexual behaviour within a partnership. So it looks as if a history of depressive episodes can detract from the pleasure a woman gets from her sex life. This might be an aspect of depression that merits more attention from those looking after women's emotional health.



Archives of Sexual Behaviour December 2004 Volume 33 pages 539-548

Created on: 01/12/2005
Reviewed on: 09/16/2009

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