Study explores relation between personality and sexual (dys)function
While it is a taboo to talk about, a lot people face troubles in their sex lives. Sexual disorders impact up to 31% of men and 43% of women. Common problems among women are inhibited sexual desire, painful intercourse or lack of orgasm.
So what exactly influences our sex life? A balance between physical and psychological health is essential. Most previous research looked at the impact of physical conditions. It is known, for example, that diseases like diabetes and coronary artery disease can cause sexual dysfunction. Now a new study explored the effect of psychological health. The researchers investigated whether female sexual dysfunction is related to certain personality traits and coping strategies.
Respondents were women presenting for treatment of sexual disorders, and were tested on personality, coping strategies and sexual dysfunction. Personality was classified into five domains: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Coping was assessed by looking at the rate in which respondents used 28 methods for managing stressful events, of which the answers were reduced to 14 positive and negative coping strategies, such as acceptance and self-blame. Finally, to measure sexual function a questionnaire was used to screen subjects for sexual disorders. Then all relationships between personality, coping and sexual function were explored.
Introversion and sexual (dys)function
The researchers found a few notable correlations between these three. But be warned! Correlation does not imply causation. First the findings on personality; women exhibiting tendencies towards introversion, friendliness and cooperation had a worse sex life than the more outgoing subjects. Also, timid women who were less open to new experiences had more distress regarding their complaints. With respect to coping strategies; those with poor sexual function more often utilized poor coping strategies, whereas those with better sexual function were more likely to employ positive mechanisms. For example, subjects coping with stress by seeking emotional support had better orgasm and higher satisfaction. Moreover, those using negative coping strategies, like self-distraction and self-blame, were more likely to experience higher distress regarding their sexual dysfunction.
The researchers underline that the study was exploratory and that more research is needed to fully understand the psychological elements that contribute to female sexuality. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that introversion and sexual problems occurred together, does not necessarily mean that the one caused the other. So shy girls; don’t panic!
Photo: Flickr, Ban Rabin
Crisp, C., Vaccaro, C., Pancholy, A., Kleeman, S., Fellner, A., & Pauls, R. (2013). Is Female Sexual Dysfunction Related to Personality and Coping? An Exploratory Study Sexual Medicine, 1 (2), 69-75 DOI: 10.1002/sm2.16
sex, female sexuality, sexual dysfunction, personality, coping, introversion
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