Incidence and Persistence/Recurrence of Women's Sexual Difficulties: Findings From the Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships Academic Article uri icon


  • This study presents data on the prevalence, incidence, and persistence/recurrence of 8 sexual difficulties among women. Australian women participated in 2 computer-assisted interviews approximately 12 months apart. Analyses were based on a weighted sample of 2,252 women who were 20-64 years of age, sexually active in the past 12 months, and in the same heterosexual relationship at both interviews. Upon recruitment, two-thirds of women (66%) reported having one or more sexual difficulties. At follow-up, 36% reported a new sexual difficulty. The two highest incident difficulties were "lacking interest in having sex" (26%) and "taking too long to orgasm" (11%). In addition, 68% of women with 1 or more sexual difficulties at recruitment reported having at least 1 of these again at follow-up. Lacking interest in having sex had the highest persistence/recurrence (65%). Logistic regression modeling revealed a lower incidence of sexual difficulties among women in their 40s. Age was also a predictor of the persistence/recurrence, with persistence/recurrence most likely among older women. Tobacco and alcohol use predicted the incidence, but not persistence/recurrence, of lacking interest in sex. Health professionals need to take note of the sociodemographic groups most prone to developing and having persistent/recurrent sexual difficulties.

publication date

  • July 2012