Assessment of sexual satisfaction in relation to potential sexual problems in women with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study

Rashmi D. Sahay, Erin N. Haynes, M. B. Rao, Istvan Pirko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Changes in sexual functioning are common in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, but its impact on women's sexual satisfaction remains unclear. The study examined the level of sexual satisfaction in relation to sexual functioning changes and explored the factors associated with overall sexual wellbeing in women with MS. A cross-sectional anonymous survey was administered to 160 women during routine MS clinic visits. Sexual satisfaction was assessed using a modified version of the Female Sexual Functioning Index. One-hundred-forty-four subjects completed the entire survey with a 90% completion rate. Subject's mean age was 42 (SD 10.2) years. Mean MS duration was 8.7 (SD 6.9) years. The majority reported Relapsing-Remitting form of MS (79%) and were walking independently (73%). Presence of at least one bladder and bowel problem was noticed in 54/144 and 69/144 subjects respectively. Generalized sexual satisfaction was demonstrated in this cohort of women (44%). Respondents reported extreme satisfaction with their partner-relationship (35%), highest satisfaction for frequency of sexual activity (48%) and highest dissatisfaction for sexual desire (33%). Frequency of sexual activity and sexual desire ranked highest for having an impact on overall sex life. Other factors in the descending order of importance were: natural wetness, sexual arousal, orgasm, partnerrelationship and disease duration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The research reported in this paper was part of a master’s thesis by Rashmi D.Sahay at the University of Cincinnati. No financial support was provided for this research. The authors wish to thank all the participants of the study. We are grateful to Dr. Maria Melanson and the staff of Waddell Center of Multiple Sclerosis at University of Cincinnati for their help. The corresponding author takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Currently, the corresponding author is supported by the training grant NIEHS T32ES10957.


  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sexual functioning
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • United States
  • Women's response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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