Previous studies have shown moderate heritability for female orgasm. So far, however, no study has addressed the pattern of genetic and environmental influences on diverse sexual dysfunctions in women, nor how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the associations between them.
The sample was drawn from the Genetics of Sex and Aggression (GSA) sample and consisted of 6446 female twins (aged 18–43 years) and 1994 female siblings (aged 18–49 years). The participants responded to the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), either by post or online.
Model fitting analyses indicated that individual differences on all six subdomains of the FSFI (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) were primarily due to non-shared (individual-specific) environmental influences. Genetic influences were modest but significant, whereas shared environmental influences were not significant. A correlated factors model including additive and non-additive genetic and non-shared environmental effects proved to have the best fit and suggested that both correlated additive and non-additive genetic factors and unique environmental factors underlie the co-occurrence of the sexual function problems.
The findings suggest that female sexual dysfunctions are separate entities with some shared aetiology. They also indicate that there is a genetic susceptibility for sexual dysfunctions. The unique experiences of each individual are, however, the main factors determining if, and which, dysfunction develops.