Influence of Self-Perceived Vulvar Appearance on Female Sexual Function

Ava G. Chappell, Daniel C. Sasson, Alex J. Soriano, Sumanas W. Jordan, Ivona Percec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Female sexual function is a complex model of biological and nonbiological factors. The impact of self-perceived vulvar appearance on female sexual function is not well understood. Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the influence of vulvar appearance on sexual function in adult women. The primary aim was to assess the relation between self-perceived vulvar appearance and sexual function. The secondary aim was to assess the influence of prior genital procedures on vulvar appearance and sexual function. Methods: An observational study of adult women was conducted utilizing Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online crowdsourcing platform. The survey instrument included demographic information, subjective vulvar appearance measures, and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. Results: Out of 398 respondents, 148 (37.2%) reported concern about their vulvar appearance and 134 (33.7%) reported a history of genital cosmetic procedures. Women who were uncomfortable with their vulvar appearance had lower FSFI scores than those comfortable with their vulvar appearance, 24.6 vs 27.0 (P = 0.01), respectively. Among women uncomfortable with their vulvar appearance, 70.9% of subjects met the criteria for sexual dysfunction. Women who were uncomfortable with their vulvar appearance were significantly more at risk of sexual dysfunction (adjusted odds ratio: 2.43; 95% CI: 1.46-4.10; P < 0.001). Women with a history of cosmetic genital procedures were significantly more at risk of sexual dysfunction (adjusted odds ratio: 2.46; 95% CI: 1.43-4.23). Conclusions: Women who are uncomfortable with their vulvar appearance had higher rates of sexual dysfunction. Women seeking cosmetic genital procedures should be screened for sexual dysfunction to facilitate realistic expectations and optimal care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)794-802
Number of pages9
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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