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Comment & Response
July 2014

Sexual Activity in Midlife Women and Beyond

Author Affiliations
  • 1New England Research Institutes Inc, Watertown, Massachusetts
  • 2George Washington University, Women's Health & Research Consultants, Washington, DC
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(7):1204. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1627

To the Editor What determines whether a woman maintains sexual activity during the midlife transition and beyond? Thomas and colleagues1 report findings from a recent longitudinal cohort study of 600 midlife women enrolled in an academic general medicine practice. Contrary to expectations, the authors found that a single measure of the importance of sex was more predictive of long-term maintenance of sexual activity than a sexual function score obtained from the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a brief, validated scale of sexual function in women.2,3 The authors report low overall FSFI scores at year 4 in both sexually active and inactive women, which did not predict continuation of sexual activity at year 8. This unexpected finding is explained as likely due to inaccuracy or insensitivity of the measure: “The FSFI’s focus on intercourse may not accurately reflect what constitutes satisfying sex in this population, yielding falsely low scores.”1(p632-633)

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