In Malaysia, female sexual dysfunction (FSD) among Malays is common, so understanding the meanings of sexuality becomes crucial, as they can vary with identity, and this may influence each woman's subsequent reaction to sexual experience. In this article, we explore the meanings of sexuality that Malay women had developed throughout their lived experience. This qualitative study, situated within a social cognitive theory and a phenomenological framework, was conducted through in-depth and photograph elicitation interviews with 26 Malay women who had self-reported experiencing FSD. The findings suggest that the meanings of sexuality for these women linked closely with fundamental factors of Malay identity, which is comprised of tradition (Adat), religion (Islam), and language, that all influence gendered roles. Malay women understood sexuality to be sexual intimacy within marriage, privileging their marital role as a "good wife" over their personal rights within a sexual relationship. This understanding of sexuality was reinforced by meanings attributed to procreation, which Malay women linked closely to the purpose of marriage and their role as a "good mother." The findings should provide useful evidence that could be used in sexual health promotions to help reduce FSD and in clinical practice to generate appropriate therapy in Malaysia and elsewhere.
The sexual identity of 65 Malaysian male medical students was investigated by anonymous questionnaire. Of these students, 40% were aware of homosexual feelings prior to age 15 years, and 16% were so aware currently. There were correlations between current homosexual feelings and feminine sex dimorphic behavior during childhood and between current homosexual feelings and feminine gender identity. The results are discussed in light of results of a similar questionnaire completed by 138 male medical students in Sydney, Australia.
Study site: National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sociocultural factors have been shown to be important influencers of sexual health and sexuality. Hence, the aim of our study was to explore the views and experiences of family medicine trainees regarding female sexual dysfunction (FSD) with a focus on the barriers and facilitators towards the initiation of conversation on this topic. A qualitative study design involving semi-structured focus group discussions (FGDs) was conducted with 19 family medicine trainees in Malaysia. The conceptual framework used was based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. Thematic approach was used to analyze the data. Participants perceived FSD as being uncommon and unimportant. According to our participants, patients often presented with indirect complaints, and doctors were not proactive in asking about FSD. Three main barriers were identified: doctor factors, perceived patient factors, and system factors. Lack of confidence, knowledge, experience, time, and embarrassment were the key barriers identified at the doctors' level. Lack of awareness, among patients regarding FSD, and local cultural and religious norms were the perceived patient barriers. System barriers were lack of time and privacy. Various facilitators, such as continuous medical education and public forums, were suggested as means to encourage family medicine trainees to initiate discussion on sexual matters during consultations. In conclusion, family medicine trainees found it difficult to initiate conversation on FSD with patients. Interventions to encourage conversation on FSD should target this and other identified barriers.
Recognizing barriers to managing sexual issues makes it more likely that effective ways to overcome them will be found. In Malaysia, where discussion of sexual issues is taboo, sociocultural factors may influence how physicians manage patients with these types of problems. This article focuses on the challenges encountered by 21 Malay family physicians when women experiencing sexual problems and female sexual dysfunction (FSD) attended their clinics, an uncommon occurrence in Malaysia, despite their high prevalence. This qualitative study employed a phenomenological framework and conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews. Three main barriers to managing women with sexual problems were identified that can hinder assessment and treatment: insufficient knowledge and training; unfavorable clinic environments; and personal embarrassment. Some barriers were associated with physician characteristics but many were systemic. These were further evaluated using social cognitive theory. Professional attitudes appear important as those physicians with an interest in managing women's health seemed to make greater effort to explore issues further and work to gain trust. Physicians who appeared indifferent to the impact of FSD showed greater reluctance to find solutions. Systemic issues included unfavorable clinical settings, lack of training, and lack of local evidence. Any strategy to address FSD needs to be underpinned by appropriate policies and resources.
Compassionate feelings for people who are victimized because of their perceived sexual deviance (e.g., gay men) may be incompatible with support for heterosexual norms among heterosexual men. But, indifference (or passivity) toward such victims could raise concern over heterosexual men's gay-tolerance attitude. Two classic social psychological theories offer competing explanations on when heterosexual men might be passive or compassionate toward gay victims of hate crime. The bystander model proposes passivity toward victims in an emergency situation if other bystanders are similarly passive, but compassionate reactions if bystanders are responsive to the victims. Conversely, the social loafing model proposes compassionate reactions toward victims when bystanders are passive, but passivity when other bystanders are already responsive toward the victims' predicament. We tested and found supportive evidence for both models across two experiments (Ntotal = 501) in which passivity and compassionate reactions to gay victims of a purported hate crime were recorded after heterosexual men's concern for social evaluation was either accentuated or relaxed. We found that the bystander explanation was visible only when the potential for social evaluation was strong, while the social loafing account occurred only when the potential for social evaluation was relaxed. Hence, we unite both models by showing that the bystander explanation prevails in situations where cues to social evaluation are strong, whereas the social loafing effect operates when concern over social judgement is somewhat muted.
In Islam, the person with somatic sex ambiguity due to a disorder of sex development (DSD), such as 46,XX congenital adrenal hyperplasia or 46,XY androgen insensitivity, is recognized as khunsa. Two types of khunsa are distinguished: wadhih (discernible) and musykil (intractable). A recent fatwa (religious edict) in Malaysia decreed that it is permissible for male-assigned patients from these two groups to have gender reassignment surgery to female following diagnosis; however, the religious authority has yet to rule on the reassignment from female to male, if requested. The different schools of law in Islam agree on some aspects of gender-related issues like the position of khunsa in prayer congregations, but differ in their opinions on others such as property inheritance and bathing rituals. For purposes of illustration, this article includes three case reports on Muslim patients with DSD in Malaysia, focusing on issues of gender assignment: (1) a patient with 46,XX CAH, assigned as female, requesting reassignment to male; (2) a patient with 46,XX CAH, assigned female, and gender dysphoric, but undecided on the gender to be; and (3) a patient with 46,XY complete gonadal dysgenesis, raised female due to her phenotype at birth, diagnosed late, at age 18 years, and content to remain female. Gender-related issues from the perspective of Islamic jurisprudence are highlighted and discussed. To ensure holistic care, health-service providers involved in the care of Muslim patients with DSDs need to be aware of the Islamic perspectives on gender-related issues and involve expert religious authorities.