Many women have problems with sex at some point in their life. Researchers at University Of Texas have linked sexual dysfunction in women to low resting heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the variation in the time intervals between a person's consecutive heartbeats.
University Of Texas's Amelia Stanton said, "Because heart rate variability has been related to many negative mental health and cardiac problems, it's interesting to bring an established clinical marker into sex research. However, moderate sympathetic nervous system activation has been shown to increase women's genital arousal."
Using the Female Sexual Function Index, which considers domains such as pain, satisfaction and desire, the researcher team analyzed HRV and self-reported data from 72 women aged 18-39 years to evaluate overall sexual functioning. Co-author Cindy Meston said, "The Female Sexual Function Index has been shown to effectively identify women with clinically significant levels of sexual dysfunction."
The findings also suggested that in addition to overall sexual dysfunction, women with below average HRV were more likely to experience difficulties with sexual arousal. With recent support from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on what could be the first-ever approved drug for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction, the researchers believe that HRV could be used as an index of drug-related changes in sexual function.
Stanton said, "Because evidence shows that low HRV is a potential risk factor for sexual dysfunction, physicians have a simple, low-cost and nonintrusive method to measure a woman's risk for sexual dysfunction. It makes it easier to talk about something a little bit more private and get women the help that they need."
The study is published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.