Get this: 43 percent of women suffer from sexual dysfunction (low libido, infrequent orgasms, painful intercourse) and, according to a new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine, it may be a result of their personality.
Previous research has shown poor health and diseases, like diabetes, can contribute to sexual dysfunction or disorder. Yet there's little known about the influence a person's personality and her reactions to stressful situations can have.
So researchers surveyed 50 women who, at the time, were receiving treatment for sexual dysfunction. They were given personality tests to see the kinds of characterics they identified with most — extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience — and then asked to rate their coping mechanisms, e.g., acceptance versus venting. Depending on how we cope, the study says, we can either increase or decrease the stress of a situation.
Based on the women's answers, researchers found those without extroversion tendencies—tendencies typically thought of as being positive, outgoing, and energetic — experienced worse sexual function. The same was true for women who tended to cope negatively, such as turing to substance use and self-blame. In other words, the satisfactory levels of your sex life may be determined by how positive you are overall.
More of an introvert yourself? Not to worry. "I took away that women who were open to new experiences had better sex lives," says Prevention advisor Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, about the study findings. "And I believe that. So I'd just encourage women to be as healthy as they can in all aspects of life, including being open to new experiences, and they'll have better sex lives."
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