Analysis of Gender Differences in Sexual Dysfunction Perception, Prevalence, and Help-Seeking Behavior among Medical Students and Faculty at Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC - Abstract
Objective: The objective of this study is to analyze gender-differences in perception of sexual dysfunction and medical-help seeking behavior among medically-educated individuals (TTUHSC grad students and faculty). Methods: Data was collected via an Omnibus survey that was administered online and sent to Texas Tech Health Sciences Center staff, faculty, and third and fourth year medical students in Lubbock, Permian Basin, Midland, and Odessa. Data from the survey was recorded and reorganized in excel for analysis Results: The results of our survey showed that far more women than men report experiencing sexual dysfunction in their lives. It was also found that women surveyed were more likely to ignore/wait and see in the first 1-2 weeks of experiencing sexual dysfunction, and were found to be more likely than men to ignore/wait and see after 2 months of experiencing sexual dysfunction. Men were more likely to make doctor’s appointment after 2 months of sexual dysfunction, whereas women in this situation were found to be most likely to consult online resources at this mark. The results of this study also indicate that health-educated women are more likely to wait 2+ months from the onset of sexual dysfunction before making a doctor’s appointment, compared to health-educated men. Among the sources of trusted information regarding sexual dysfunction, men and women were found to be equally most trusting of PCPs, Specialists, and Health Websites Significance: Although sexual dysfunction is usually thought to be associated with men, it is interesting to note that women surveyed in this cohort report experiencing much higher rates of sexual dysfunction. In addition, the majority of those women surveyed stated that they would not seek medical attention from a physician for sexual dysfunction within the first two months, whereas men were far more likely to seek medical aid in this time frame. Conclusion: Despite sexual dysfunction being far more present amongst health-educated women at TTUHSC, the results of study found that they were less likely to seek medical aid from a professional at both the 2week mark, 1 month mark, and 2month mark. We hypothesize that this may be a result of underlying societal norms, taboos, and expectations for men to be more sexual beings than women, resulting in a perception that sexual dysfunction is more “normal” in women than in men. There could also be underlying hormonal mechanisms at play, potentially influenced by widespread use of hormone-modulating birth control medication amongst women.