Sexual Self-Concept in Women with Disorders/Differences of Sex Development

on behalf of the Dutch Study Group on DSD

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Many women born with disorders or differences of sex development (DSD) report sexual problems, in particular women who have undergone extensive genital reconstruction. Examining cognitions and emotions that hinder or promote sexuality may facilitate understanding these sexual problems and may contribute to the development of specific interventions. In this study, sexual self-concept, body image, and sexual functioning were investigated in relation to genital surgery. To conduct the study, the women’s Sexual Self-Concept Scale was translated to Dutch. Evaluation of psychometric properties was conducted in a sample of healthy Belgian and Dutch women participating in an anonymous web-based survey (N = 589, Mdn age, 23 years). The resulting three-factor structure corresponded largely to that of the original version. Compared to control women, women born with a DSD who were included in the Dutch DSD study (N = 99, Mdn age, 26 years) described themselves as being less interested in sex and less sexually active. These women also harbored more negative emotions and cognitions regarding their sexuality and were less satisfied with their external genitalia. In women with a DSD, sexual self-concept was associated with compromised outcomes on sexual functioning and distress. Women who were in a steady relationship, and/or had been sexually active in the past 4 weeks had a more positive sexual self-concept, took a more active role in their sexual relationship, experienced more sexual desire and arousal and less sexual distress than women who were not involved in a partner relationship. Findings in this study indicate that cognitions and emotions related to sexual self-concept play a role in sexual functioning of women with a DSD. A cognitive behavioral counseling approach with focus on coping and exploration of their own sexual needs could prove useful in this group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2213-2229
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of sexual behavior
Volume51
Issue number4
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Difference/disorder of sex development
  • Female sexual distress and dysfunction
  • Intersex
  • Sexual self-schema

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