The Relationship between Perfectionism and Sexual Function in Infertile Women

Document Type : Original Article


1 Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Education, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

2 M.Sc. of Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology and Education, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran.

3 M.Sc. Student of Family Counseling, Islamic Azad University of Ghochan, Ghochan, Iran.


Introduction: Infertility is accompanied by physical and psychosocial stress and perfectionism is accompanied by overly critical self and others' evaluations. So, these two factors may cause sexual disorders by increasing the stress. The main aim of this study was to determine the relationship between perfectionism and sexual function of infertile women in Mashhad, Iran.
Methods: This correlation-descriptive study was conducted in 2012 on 200 infertile women were selected by availability sampling method from infertility centers of Mashhad, Iran. Women were examined with multiple perfectionism scale (MPS) and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Data were analyzed by SPSS software version 16, regression analysis and Pearson correlation tests. P value less than 0.001 was considered significant.
Results: The different aspects of perfectionism (self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism) had significant negative relationship with sexual function in infertile women (p<0.001); the more perfectionism make less sexual function in infertile women. In addition among of different aspects of perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism has more significant relationship with sexual function (p=0.014).
Conclusion: Different aspects of perfectionism, especially socially prescribed perfectionism lead infertile women to have more stress and the stress threatens women’s sexual function.


  1. . منابع American Academy of Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association;1995.
  2. Ohadi B. [Normal and abnormal sexual desires of human]. Isfahan:Atropat;2001. [in Persian].
  3. Boivin J, Bunting L, Collins JA, Nygren KG. Intenational estimates of infertility prevalence and treatment seeking: potential need and demand for infertility medical care. Hum Reprod 2007 Jun;22(6):1506-12.
  4. Jedzejczak P, Luczak-Wawrzyniak J, Szyfter J, Przewozna J, Taszarek-Hauke G, Pawelczyk L. [Feeling and emotions in women treated for infertility] [Article in Polish]. Przegl Lek 2004;61(12):1334-7.
  5. Mohammadi MR, Khalaj Abadi Farahani F. Emotional and psychological problems of infertility and strategies to overcome them] [Article in Persian]. J Reprod Infertil 2001 Oct-Dec;2(4(8)):33-9.
  6. Lee TY, Sun GH, Chao SC. The effect of an infertility diagnosis on the distress, Marital and sexual satisfaction between has bands and wives in Taiwan. Hum Report 2000 Aug;16(8):1762-7.
  7. Andrews FM. Infertility –problem stress different? the dynamics of stress in fertile and infertile couples. J Coupl Ther 1993;59(2):478-9.
  8. Sargholzary M. Abnormal psychology, sexual problem & depression in women infertilities. Infertility 2000 Fall;5(3):234-47.
  9. Nobre PJ, Pinto-Gouveia J. Dysfunctional sexual beliefs as vulnerability factors for sexual dysfunction. J Sex Res 2006 Feb;43(1):68-75.
  10. Lichtenberg JW. Psychological illness, and subscription to Ellis's irrational beliefs. J Couns Dev 1992 NovDec;71(2):157-63.
  11. Beak AT. Cognitive therapy and emotional disorders. New York:International Universities Press;1976.
  12. Smith TW, Houst BK, Zurawski RM. Irrational belie and arousal of emotional distress. J Couns Psychol 1984 Apr;31(2):190-201.
  13. Burns DD. The perfectionist's scripts for self-defeat. Psychol today 1980 Nov;14:34-52.
  14. Frost RO, Marten P, Lahart C, Rosenblate R. The dimensions of perfectionism. Cognit Ther Res 1990;14:449- 68.
  15. Speirs Neumeister KL, Finch H. Perfectionism in high-ability students: relational precursors and influences on achievement motivation. Gift Child Quart 2006;50(3):238-52.
  16. Besharat MA. [An investigation of the relationship between perfectionism and self-esteem in pre-college students] [Article in Persian]. Dev Psychol 2004;1(1):21-30.
  17. Parker WD. An empirical typology of perfectionism in academically talented children. Am Educ Res J 1997 Fall;34(3):545-62.
  18. Terry-Short LA, Owens RG, Slade PD, Dewey ME. Positive and negative perfectionism. Pers Individ Dif 1995 May;18(5):663-8.
  19. Davis C. Normal and neurotic perfectionism in eating disorder: an interactive model. Int J Eat Disord 1997 Dec:22(4):421-6.
  20. Frost RO, Heimberg RG, Holt CS, Mattia JI, Neubauer AL. A comparison of two measures of perfectionism. Pers Individ Dif 1993 Jan;14(1):119-26.
  21. Hamachek DE. Psychodynamics of normal and neurotic perfectionism. Psychology 1978 Feb;15(1):27-33.
  22. Blatt SJ. The destructiveness of perfectionism. Implications for the treatment of depression. Am Psychol 1995 Dec;50(12):1003-20.
  23. Cheraghali Gol H, Rostami AM, Goudarzi M. Prediction of marital satisfaction based on perfectionism. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2013 Oct 10;89:567-71.
  24. DiBartolo PM, Barlow DH. Perfectionism, marital satisfaction, and contributing factors to sexual dysfunction in men with erectile disorder and their spouses. Arch Sex Behav 1996 Dec;25(6):581-8.
  25. Hewitt PL, Flett GL. Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: conceptualization, assessment and association with psychopathology. J Pers Soc Psychol 1991 Mar:60(3):456-70.
  26. Fiddler AT, Bernstein J. Infertility: from a personal to a public health problem. Public Health Rep 1999 Nov;144(6):494-511.
  27. Khayata GM, Rizk DE, Hasan MY, Ghazal-Aswad S, Asaad MA. Factors influencing the quality of life of infertile women in United Arab Emirates. Int J Obestet 2003 Feb;80(2):183-8.
  28. Springre SH. How perfectionism hurts relationships. The joint (Ad)ventures of well-educated Couples. 2012. Avaliable at:
  29. Bavaro S. How feeding perfectionism can starve your sex life. Agrateful life 2012 Sep 6. Available at:
  30. Hashemi L, Latifian M. [A study relationship between goal orientation and pre-university students] [Article in Persian]. J Psychol Stud 2010;5(3):15-28.
  31. Mohammadi KH, Heidari M, Faghihzadeh S. [The female sexual function index (FSFI): validation of the Iranian version] [Article in Persian]. Payesh 2008 Jul;7(3):269-78.
  32. Abbey A, Andrews FM, Halman L. Infertility and subjective well-being: the mediating roles of self esteem, internal control, interpersonal conflict. J Marriage Fam 1992;54:408-17.
  33. Gibson DM, Myers JE. Gender and infertility: a relational approach to counseling women. J Couns Dev 2000;78:400-10.
  34. Brand HJ. The influence of sex differences on the acceptance of infertility. J Reprod Infant Psychol 1989;7:129- 31.
  35. Seif D, Alborzi SH. The relationship between demographic characteristic & affect in dissatisfaction of infertile couple. Infertility 2009 Fall;9:25-30.
  36. Barlow DH. Cause of sexual dysfunction in infertility couple. J Cons Clin Psychol 1986;54:78-89.
  37. Theroux B, Pole RT. Irrational beliefs and intervention. J Psychosoc Nurs 1998;3:56-68.