Desire & Immunity Across the Life Span (DIALS)

In this study we are trying to understand more about how inflammation is related to women’s sexual desire and arousal. There has been some research showing that inflammation can causes changes in the brain, and in hormones levels, that result in changes in mood and motivation. We are testing if women who do or do not report problems with sexual desire and/or arousal differ in terms of inflammation.

We are also interested in understanding differences between pre- and post-menopausal women’s sexual desire and arousal, and how these may relate to their hormones and inflammation. Although all women who go through menopause have a significant decrease in estrogens and other female hormones, only some post-menopausal women experience changes in their sexual function. We are curious if changes in inflammation also play a role in post-menopausal women’s sexual desire and arousal, in addition to changes in hormones.

Finally, we are testing if low sexual desire could be used as a warning sign for detecting women at risk for heart disease. Men’s sexual functioning is known to be associated with chronic inflammation, which makes asking about sexual function a good way to identify which men might be at risk for inflammation-related disorders such as heart disease. However, we do not know if this is also true for women. This study is testing if sexual function (or dysfunction) is related to women’s inflammation levels.

Note, we are no longer recruiting for the DIALS study.