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Title: Constructing female sexuality : how heterosexual women's accounts of sex and sexual difficulties correspond with contemporary classification systems for female sexual problems
Author: Nicholls, Leanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 6242
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2005
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There has been recent debate within the field of sexology regarding the construction and classification of female sexuality and sexual difficulties. Those promoting a predominantly `bio-medical', individual and internal construction in the form of the 1998 Consensus Classification for `female sexual dysfunction' have met with specific opposition from feminist proponents through the development of `A New View of Women's Sexual Problems'. This alternative framework rejects the `medicalisation' of women's sexual experiences in favour of locating them primarily within socio-cultural and relational contexts. Based on the assumption that in order to have clinical and research utility, classification systems need to reflect the issues relevant to their subject matter. The purpose of this study was to examine the correspondence between women's accounts of their sexual difficulties and non-problematic sexual experiences with these two classification systems. A non-clinical sample of 49 heterosexual women volunteered to complete an anonymous, qualitative questionnaire survey regarding their experiences of sex and sexual difficulty. An analytic procedure was devised to assess correspondence of the women's accounts with the two classification systems, at both a categorical and conceptual level. 74% of respondents' accounts of their sexual difficultycorresponded with the New View at a categorical level, whereas 41% corresponded with the Consensus Classification. The New View also demonstrated better correspondence at a conceptual level with women's accounts of their sexual difficulty and non-problematic sexual experience. As results suggest that the New View is more able than the Consensus Classification in reflecting the issues women themselves deem as important in understanding their sexual experiences, implications for the prevailing use of the Consensus Classification and its impact on research and clinical practice are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available