Sexual Self-Concept in Fertile and Infertile Women: A Comparative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Students Research Office, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Medical Ethics and Law, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Biostatistics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran

5 Population Health Research Group, Health Metrics Research Center, Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran


Background: Sexual self-concept has a considerable impact on mental and sexual health. However, the relationship
between sexual self-concept and infertility is unknown. This study aimed to compare sexual self-concept between
fertile and infertile women.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 250 fertile and 250 infertile
women who had referred to 9 health centers affiliated to Medical universities in Tehran and Royan infertility treatment
clinics in Tehran, Iran in 2017. Sexual self-concept was measured using the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept
Questionnaire (MSSCQ) consisting of 20 subscales. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed to compare
sexual self-concept between the two groups.

Results: The mean age of fertile and infertile women was 34 ± 5.62 and 29.74 ± 5.29 years, respectively. The highest
score in both groups was for the sexual self-schemata subscale (mean score for fertile=3.21 ± 0.68 and for infertile=
3.42 ± 0.62). The lowest score was for sexual-depression subscale (mean score for fertile=0.59 ± 0.81 and for
infertile=0.61 ± 0.76). After adjustment for the age of each subject, the husband's age, duration of marriage, and women’s
education, we analyzed the sexual-satisfaction, the power-other sexual control, and the fear-of-sex subscales,
which were found to be significantly lower in infertile women (p <0.05). No other significant differences between the
fertile and infertile groups were observed.

Conclusion: We observed significant differences between fertile and infertile women in terms of sexual-satisfaction,
the power-other sexual control, and the fear-of-sex, but not in other sexual self-concept subscales. These findings suggest
that there is need to improve sexual self-concept among both fertile and infertile women. Indeed implementation
of educational and counseling programs by reproductive health specialists might play an important role in enhancing
sexual self-concept among these populations.


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