Feature Articles

FPAHK studies Sexuality of Hong Kong Chinese Women

Ref Number: ESEAOR201409

  • Date1 Sep 2014
  • Category FPA Message
  • Targets Women Public
  • AuthorFPAHK
  • Topic Menopause

Two studies on the sexuality of ethnic Chinese women in Hong Kong conducted by FPAHK showed prevalence of sexual problems, low sexual intimacy and coital frequency among women of reproductive age and around menopause.

In the study “Sexual Behavior and Symptoms among Reproductive Age Chinese Women in Hong Kong”, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in July 2014, 2,146 women of 21 - 40 years of age from FPAHK’s birth control clinics and pre-pregnancy check-up service were surveyed by questionnaire from December 2007 to December 2009. 59% of respondents had at least one sexual problem for at least 3 months in the past year. In this sample, 31.8% reported no desire, 31.7% had arousal problems, 40% had no orgasm and 33.8% experienced coital pain. 7% and 18.1% of respondents had low intimacy and coital frequency (zero to less than 12 acts per year) respectively. This group mainly comprised women of the older age group and those in less stable relationships.

The other study “Sexuality of Chinese Women around Menopause” was conducted during the same time period and published in Maturitas in February 2013. In this study, 371 women aged between 40 and 60 using FPAHK’s women’s health check-up service or from Women’s Clubs were surveyed by questionnaire. Overall, 77.2% women were found to have at least one sexual problem for at least 3 months in the past year. In this sample, 35.6% reported no desire, 38.3% had arousal problems, 42.9% had no lubrication, 41% had no orgasm and 31.5% experienced coital pain. 22.1% and 39.6% women had low intimacy and coital frequency (zero to less than 12 acts per year) respectively. Naturally menopaused and surgically menopaused women were three to five times more likely than premenopausal women to be sexually inactive.

According to Dr. Sue Lo, FPAHK’s Senior Doctor, who authored both studies, the research findings were significant. She explained that firstly, for reproductive age women, a low coital frequency (less than 12 times a year) led to low fertility; and secondly, women’s active initiation of sex might contribute to better sexual function through enhanced autonomy. As for women aged 40 to 60, sexual dysfunction, especially no desire and no orgasm, contributed to sexual dissatisfaction which might affect couple relationship. Regular sexual intercourse helps to delay the atrophy of the cervix and vagina which reduces pain and discomfort in the vagina as well as recurrent urinary tract infection when a woman ages.

Dr. Lo advised reproductive age couples to have more sexual communication with their partners; take turns to initiate coitus; overcome shyness when talking about sex; enhance the sexual autonomy of women; invest into foreplay; and for those planning to get pregnant, have coitus two to three times a week and enjoy every moment. As for 40- to 60-year-old couples, applying the concept of “use it or lose it” to sexual function, Dr. Lo advised them to maintain regular coitus, at least once a week. Some women might need lubricants or vaginal hormone therapy. Couples were encouraged to utilize FPAHK’s wide range of services and resources, from education talks, check-up and assessment, sex coaching, counseling to sexual dysfunction therapy.