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Towards a globally shared taxonomy of the different conditions diagnosed as unconsummated marriage

Silvaggi, M1; Michetti, PM2; Fabrizi, A3; Rossi, R1; Tripodi, F1; Simonelli, C4

1: Institute of Clinical Sexology, Italy; 2: Policlinic Umberto I, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Urologic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome; 3: Santa Lucia Foundation, Tor Vergata University of Rome; 4: Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Psychology

Objective Sexuality has different meanings and follow different scripts depending on the country or geographic location and the dominant culture. The growing globalization and migrations leaded to marriages between people belonging to different cultures. Moreover, in modern societies there are many migrant communities that, although integrated, follow faithfully the rules and values of their culture of origin. For this reason, health care professionals are progressively exposed to the task of understanding and dealing with sexual difficulties that have a lot to do with the cultural aspects of patients. Very often professionals are not prepared to face diversity and complexity in relationship, or describe the problems with imprecise terms. The aim of the present work is to collect and review data on Unconsummated Marriage (UCM) all around the world, to identify difference and similarities, and to suggest a globally shared taxonomy of the different conditions that go nowadays under the UCM umbrella.


Materials and Methods A review of published literature on UCM from different areas of the world was conducted.

Results Substantial difference emerged among Middle Eastern (MES) Western (WS) and Eastern society (ES). In MES, sexuality is allowed only in marriage, in WS sexuality and relationship are not strongly linked, while in ES it is possible to find both conditions depending on the country and whether the area is metropolitan or rural. This could suggest that the term unconsummated “marriage” is unable to cover the phenomenon in such different countries. Moreover, the mean time before the consultation, causal attribution and prevalence are very different in such societies.

Conclusions We found that the term “First attempt intercourse dysfunction (FAID)” could be better to describe male and female difficulties related either to ignorance about sexuality or state/performance anxiety and mainly characterized by short time prior consultation. On the other hand, where individual difficulties are involved creating a couple sexual dysfunction, mainly characterized by long time to consultation, we suggest a new term as “Unconsummated relationship” (UCR)”.


Work supported by industry: no.

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