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Sexuality, its Meaning and Impact on Malay Women with Sexual Dysfunction

Sexuality, its Meaning and Impact on Malay Women with Sexual Dysfunction

Sexuality, although for many is not the major part of a relationship, still has a central role in providing happiness and tranquillity in human life. The social-cultural-religious context within which it exists, together with interpersonal and intrapsychic experiences, are among the elements infl uencing it- elements that are useful in helping health care providers to determine its aetiology and impact, as well as any therapy for those suffering from sexual problems. One important aspect in sexuality and its therapy includes sexuality meanings and its impact since it will verify either they have dysfunction or not. Many researchers have studied the meanings of sexuality among Western women, but it remains less explored among Asian women, who usually live within a different cultural and religious background. We aim to gain an in-depth understanding of the sexuality meanings, and its impact from the experience of Malay women with sexual dysfunction. Twenty married middleaged (27-51 years; M= 38.6 years), premenopausal Malay women, from Kelantan and Klang Valley, Peninsular Malaysia, took part in face-to-face, in-depth interviews, with or without photo elicitation, from September 2013 to June 2014. All had attained at least secondary education and had been married for 13 (mean) years; almost all self-reported sexual dysfunction, lasting for about 10 years (M=9.75 years). Most of the disorders affecting them were a combination of desire, arousal and orgasmic problems, at 30%, followed by desire disorder at 20%, sexual pain disorder at 15%, and 5% with orgasmic disorder only. Based on thematic analysis of in-depth interviews data, sexuality initially meant, for these Malay women, 1.Coitus and intimacy; 2.Pleasurable activities; 3.Procreation and 4.Taboo. Those with sexual dysfunction, however, experienced a transformation in the personal meaning of their sexuality, changing it into something unpleasant, a disliked activity that they wanted to avoid. These reactions were illustrated in five themes as: 1. It’s just for you; 2. Leave me alone; 3. Evolution of love; 4. Challenges of pleasure; 5. Changed perception, from ‘sweet sexy wife’ to ‘good mother’. Living with the problem led to some suffering from negative effects on: 1.Their relationship, 2. Thoughts and feelings and 3. Children. We contend that this research will provide additional and valuable knowledge to help promote better sexual health education, as well as cultural and religiously acceptable therapy from the perspective of women who experience sexual difficulties.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Asia Oceania Federation of Sexology 2014

Asia Oceania Federation of Sexology 2014

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