Little research has been done to examine sexual health care among middle-aged women, particularly in developing countries that are socioculturally conservative, such as Iran.
In 2015, as part of a descriptive qualitative study, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 17 women aged 40–65 residing in Golestan Province, Iran. Graneheim and Lundman’s approach to conventional content analysis was used to interpret the sexual health care narratives of the women.
Sexual health care for middle-aged Iranian women often took the form of self-care to preserve their privacy and confidentiality, and in general, any information on sexual health was appreciated. Data analysis identified three main categories of strategies for sexual self-care: sexual risk protection, prevention of sexual problems and undesirability, and sexual information seeking. Also, sexual self-care emerged as the central theme.
To meet the needs of middle-aged Iranian women, health care providers should become familiar with such women’s sexual health care and self-care practices. Socioculturally sensitive policies and interventions should be developed to improve the sexual and reproductive health care conditions of middle-aged women.