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Persistent genital arousal: problem, pathology or normative response?

Persistent genital arousal: problem, pathology or normative response?

To determine whether there are women who report persistent genital arousal as a normative aspect of their sexual response rather than as a pathological condition.  A comparison between all of the respondents to an on-line questionnaire survey on persistent genital arousal was conducted. Of the original sample of 388 women, 206 women endorsed all five criteria for diagnosis of persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD group) and 176 met some but not all criteria (non-PGAD group). The two groups were compared on all aspects of the condition, including onset, duration and severity of symptoms, feelings about the condition and overall sexual and relationship satisfaction. Additionally, a comparison of FSFI scores was made.

The two groups were similar in terms of age, relationship status and education. More PGAD than non-PGAD women reported current symptoms and greater symptom severity. Ratings of overall distress was significantly greater for the PGAD than the non-PGAD women (a rating of 7.9 vs. 4.7 on a ten point distress scale). 48% of PGAD vs. 27% of non-PGAD women reported continuous (as opposed to intermittent) feelings of genital arousal. Significantly more PGAD women than non-PGAD women endorsed negative feelings about their genital arousal and significantly more non-PGAD women reported positive feelings. PGAD women differ significantly from non-PGAD women on 4 of the 6 FSFI domains: desire, satisfaction, pain and overall function.  There is a cohort of women who regularly, if intermittently, experience genital arousal and find it mildly pleasurable and not particularly distressing or worrisome. Their genital arousal differs in many respects from that of women who meet all five criteria for a diagnosis of PGAD. Possible explanations and etiologies for these differing reactions are discussed.
Speakers: Sandra Leiblum
Conference: Demo