Genetics of female orgasmic dysfunction

4 July 2005

A paper published in the new Royal Society journal Biology Letters reports on a classical twin study to investigate genetic factors in female orgasmic dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction among women is widely reported in the UK, but there is no consensus as to how far this represents a genuine medical problem, as opposed to a construct of sociological factors such as a changing cultural environment. The authors of the new study report that female sexual function is the subject of far less research than male sexual function, possibly because of the view that it plays no direct role in reproductive ability [Dunn KM et al. (2005) Biol. Lett. Early Online Publication 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0308]. Monozygotic (MZ) twins are genetically identical, whilst dizygotic (DZ) twins have 50% of their genes in common, on average; assuming the family environment of twins brought up together is broadly equivalent, significantly closer similarities with respect to the factor of interest observed in MZ twin pairs than DZ twin pairs are taken to be indicative of genetic influences on that factor. For this study, surveys with questions about sexual problems were completed by a total of 4037 adult women aged between 19 and 83 (average age 50), comprising 683 MZ and 714 DZ pairs of female twins. The MZ and DZ twin groups did not differ significantly with respect to average age (50), number of sexual partners (5) or reported incidence of having been heterosexual and sexually active

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