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Introduction: Sexual desire is often evaluated as part of a global assessment of female sexual function, which may not comprehensively evaluate the various facets of this experience. There currently exists a need to develop a psychometrically robust desire‐specific measure for women. Aim: The aim of this study was to develop and validate a desire‐specific, self‐administered instrument that evaluates the multiple facets of sexual desire and factors influencing this experience for partnered heterosexual women, with or without sexual dysfunction. Methods: Preliminary items for inclusion in the Female Sexual Desire Questionnaire (FSDQ) were identified through a literature review and individual interviews with partnered heterosexual women, mostly from Australia. The resulting instrument was completed by a validation sample of 741 women, aged between 18 and 71 years, who were involved in a heterosexual relationship of between 3 months' and 49 years' duration. Main Outcome Measures: Exploratory factor analysis was used to refine the FSDQ item content and identify the underlying domain structure. The reliability (internal consistency) and validity (convergent validity) of the FSDQ were also evaluated. Results: The final version of the FSDQ consisted of 50 items organized into six domains that characterized the experience of, and factors influencing, sexual desire for heterosexual partnered women: Dyadic Desire, Solitary Desire, Resistance, Positive Relationship, Sexual Self‐Image, and Concern. Each domain demonstrated high reliability, as did the overall measure. Evidence of construct validity was ascertained through convergence with the Sexual Desire Inventory and the Hurlbert Index of Sexual Desire. A short‐form of the FSDQ, consisting of six items, was also developed. Conclusions: The FSDQ is a new reliable and valid multidimensional measure designed specifically for evaluating the facets of, and factors influencing, sexual desire among sexually functional and dysfunctional women who are involved in a heterosexual relationship.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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