(031) Effects of Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy vs. Puberty Blockers on Sexual Function and DesireJ Finegan, J Anger, K Okamuro, B Marino-Kibbee, R Newfield, M Marinkovic
- Reproductive Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Psychiatry and Mental health
Many transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) individuals seek out puberty blockers (PB) to stop the progression of unwanted changes from endogenous puberty and/or gender affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) to aid in their medical transition. There has been limited research assessing the effect of these hormone therapies on sexual function and desire, especially in comparing GAHT and PB+GAHT.
Our aim was to compare the effect of GAHT and PB+GAHT on sexual function and desire of TGNB individuals during or following hormone therapy.
We performed an IRB approved two institutional study on the effect of GAHT and/or PB on sexual function and desire in adults. The GAHT group (n=12) included individuals who started GAHT (estrogen or testosterone) >18 years old. The PB group (n=10) included subjects with current or past history of GnRH agonist use (>10 years old). Enrolled subjects completed the validated Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ). The CSFQ was validated in adults to assess medication-related changes in sexual functioning. The questionnaire is specific to sex assigned at birth with a male and female version. The answers were scored in total and separated into sexual function and sexual desire subscales. Scores in each group were compared using unpaired t-tests.
A total of 22 TGNB (16 assigned male at birth and 6 assigned female at birth: 14 transgender women, 5 transgender men, 3 non-binary) subjects ages 18-25 completed the CSFQ about the effect hormone therapy had on sexual function and desire. There was no difference between groups in total scores (t = 0.8, p = 0.05) or in categories of sexual function (t = 0.3, p = 0.05) and desire (t = 0.8, p = 0.05). There were an equal number of participants in both groups whose results showed sexual dysfunction in total (n=2 per group) and in categories of sexual function (n=7 per group) and desire (n=3 per group). The cause of their dysfunction is unclear at this time and is to be investigated in the future. Interestingly, despite meeting quantitative criteria for sexual dysfunction, 6 participants answered that their sexual life brings them “much” or “great” enjoyment or pleasure.
Based on our results, while there were >70% of subjects in each group with impaired sexual function, there were no differences in effect on sexual function and desire between subjects on GAHT vs. PB+GAHT. Additionally, the scores for both groups did not differ substantially from scores of cisgender individuals (Keller, et al 2006). In fact, both the GAHT and PB+GAHT groups scored higher on average in the sexual desire category compared to cisgender individuals. Prospective data collection will help us clarify further whether starting age of pubertal blockers and hormone therapy affects sexual function and desire.