More than half of women with chronic pain, for instance, say they don’t want sex to stop, a new survey finds.
And nearly two-thirds of women say they are not sure they would want to have sex again if they had to, the latest findings from the survey of more than 20,000 people.
The survey, conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative at the University of Michigan, found that women with a history of chronic pain are significantly more likely to feel pressured to stop having sex than women without such an issue.
It also found that about two-fifths of women in the study reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact or sexual behavior that they felt violated.
For many women with medical conditions, like fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, the results are particularly troubling, the study’s lead author, Dr. Joanne Dolan, said in a statement.
The pain can cause symptoms like low mood and anxiety.
Women are more likely than men to have a history or physical diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and women with fibromyal pain are more than twice as likely to have had sexual activity as women without the condition.
“Women who are having fibromyas are at increased risk of having sex and for women who have fibromyias, having sex can be dangerous, especially when combined with fibromyalgia,” she said.
The study found that nearly three-quarters of women who reported a history were also at risk of sexual dysfunction, with about one-third of them reporting that they experienced sexual or emotional abuse.
Some women said that their abuse began after their diagnosis and continued even after they were discharged from the hospital.
The new survey also found more women in pain report they were pressured to have more sex or that their partners would stop.
Nearly half of the women in that group said they were forced to engage in sex they felt unsafe about or that they were not allowed to do, according to the survey.
More than three-fourths said that sexual harassment and physical abuse was a constant part of their lives, including verbal and physical insults.
The results were similar when women with serious medical conditions like COPD were compared with those without.
The Women’s Healthcare Initiative found that among women with COPD, those who reported sexual or other physical abuse were almost twice as often pressured to be sexually active as women who did not have chronic pain.
The problem is not limited to just women with health conditions.
More and more women with an eating disorder, a condition characterized by a lack of control over food, are being pressured to get regular and consistent food intake, Dr Dolan said.
And research shows that those who are struggling with chronic eating disorders are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, and substance use.
More and more people with mental health conditions are also being pressured into sex.
More research is needed on this question, but it is clear that women and men who have mental health issues are at risk for more problems, such as depression and substance abuse, the survey found.
More from Business Insider: