Orgasm and Desire Top List of Women's Sex Concerns

While many women experience sexual problems, for those ages 18 to 30 the No. 1 complaint is trouble reaching orgasm, while older women mostly complain about lack of sexual desire, suggests a new survey of patients at a New Jersey urology clinic.

In the study, researchers asked 587 women ages 18 to 95 about six key areas of female sexual dysfunction (FSD): lack of desire, arousal issues, lack of lubrication, problems achieving orgasm, lack of satisfaction and pain during intercourse.

Sexual dysfunction rose with age in all categories except orgasm, with more than half of women ages 18 to 30 reporting orgasm problems, significantly higher than women ages 31 to 54. Overall, about 63 percent of the women reported suffering from sexual dysfunction.

The top three problems by age group were:

  • Ages 18-30: orgasm (54 percent reported this problem), desire (36 percent) and satisfaction (28 percent)
  • 31-45: desire (48 percent), orgasm (43 percent) and satisfaction (40 percent)
  • 46-54: desire (65 percent), satisfaction (53 percent) and orgasm (48 percent)
  • 55-70: desire (77 percent), orgasm (66 percent), satisfaction (65 percent)
  • Over 70: desire (96 percent), satisfaction (88 percent) and orgasm (87 percent)

Other key survey findings included:

  • The most sexually active age groups were 31-45 year-olds (87 percent reported sexual activity); 18-30 year-olds (85 percent); and 46-54 year-olds (74 percent). Numbers dropped for 55-70 year-olds (45 percent) and in the over-70 group (15 percent).
  • The top overall problem was lack of desire (47 percent), followed by orgasm problems (45 percent), arousal issues (40 percent), lack of satisfaction (39 percent), lack of lubrication (37 percent) and pain (36 percent).

Treatment for sexual disorders

Studies have shown major categories of sexual dysfunction are linked with reduced physical and emotional satisfaction and general well-being, the researchers say.

"FSD can have a major effect on women's quality of life," said study team member Dr. Debra Fromer, head of the Center for Bladder, Prostate and Pelvic Floor Health at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "Self-esteem, sense of wholeness and relationships can be seriously and adversely affected, exacting a heavy emotional toll."

Fromer added that's why it's so important to identify and tackle the sexual problems. "For example a number of hormone and other drug treatments have been shown to benefit women with FSD."

However, a recent review of 101 studies on female orgasm disorder, in which a woman has trouble climaxing or reaching orgasm at all, showed treatments for the disorder are inadequate. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration recently determined the drug flibanserin (female Viagra) didn't increase a woman's sexual desire.

Known risk factors for FSD include age, a history of sexual abuse or sexually transmitted infections, depression, lower socioeconomic status, lifestyle, overall physical health and sexual experience.

The results will be published in the August issue of BJUI, the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons.