Psychological and Sexual Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Egypt: Are Women Suffering More?

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Sex Med. 2021 Jan 8;9(1):100295. doi: 10.1016/j.esxm.2020.100295. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic include pandemic triggered feelings of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety added to the effects of restricting the population’s activities in lockdown.

AIM: We aimed to study the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on sexual satisfaction of females and males in Egypt and to evaluate possible predictive factors.

METHODS: Married men and females in Egypt were invited to respond to an online questionnaire. The questionnaire addressed medical history, socioeconomic status, sexual performance satisfaction before and during the lockdown in addition to validated Arabic questionnaires for depression, sexual function in males and females, and sexual satisfaction (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Female Sexual Function Index, International Index of Erectile Function-5, Index of Sexual Satisfaction, respectively).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The main outcome measures were frequency of depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and sexual satisfaction in males and females during COVID-19 lockdown.

RESULTS: A total of 479 females and 217 males completed the questionnaire. Sexual satisfaction was significantly higher before (91.2%, 73.5%) than during lockdown (70.5%, 56.2%) in both males and females, respectively. During lockdown, significantly more males (70.5%) reported being satisfied with their sexual performance than females (56.2%) (P < .001). More than half of the male subjects (68.2%) had no erectile dysfunction while 97.3% females scored ≤26.5 on the Female Sexual Function Index scale suggestive of sexual difficulties. Sexual stress was significantly greater in females (70.8%) than males (63.1%). Educational level, occupation, anxiety, and erectile dysfunction were independently associated with sexual stress in males. Being a housewife or unemployed, husband’s age >35 years, marriage duration of 5-10 years, anxiety, and female sexual dysfunction were predictors of sexual relation stress in females.

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 pandemic was associated with lower sexual satisfaction in both genders. Females however suffered more anxiety and depression and thereby greater risk of sexual function difficulties and sexual dissatisfaction. Intervention strategies in order to lessen the suffering of affected individuals particularly after the pandemic are recommended. Omar SS, Dawood W, Eid N, et al. Psychological and Sexual Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Egypt: Are Women Suffering More. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

PMID:33434851 | DOI:10.1016/j.esxm.2020.100295