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On the importance of sexual health for quality of life and satisfaction of people's sex lives


To provide epidemiological data on the importance of sexual health for quality of life and satisfaction with people's sex lives and to examine how each relates to demographic and health factors.


Data from a cross-sectional, self-report questionnaire from a sample of 3515 English-speaking US adults recruited from an online panel using an address-based probability model.

Main outcome measures

We report ratings of sexual health importance for quality of life (single item with 5-point response) and PROMIS® satisfaction with sex life score (5 items, each 5-point response, US average focus points).


62.2% of males (95% CI, 59.4% –65.0%) and 42.8% of females (95% CI, 39.6% –46.1%; P <.001) reported increased importance of sexual health for quality of life. The importance of sexual health varies by gender, age, sexual activity status and general self-rated health. For 55% of men and 45% of women who reported sexual activity in the past 30 days, sexual life satisfaction differed by gender, age, race / ethnicity (in men only) and health. Men and women in good health had significantly higher levels of satisfaction than participants in fair or poor health. Women with high blood pressure reported significantly lower satisfaction (especially younger women), men with depression or anxiety (especially younger men).


In this large study of US adults' ratings of the importance of sexual health and sexual life satisfaction, sexual health is an important component of quality of life for many participants, including poor health. Furthermore, participants in poor health reported lower sexual satisfaction. Similarly, sexual health should be part of the physician's assessment routine. Health care systems with a commitment to improving the overall health of patients must have the resources to address sexual concerns. These resources should be available to all patients for a lifetime.

Keywords: quality of life, self-report, sexual behavior, cross-sectional studies, males and females

The penguinter

It's been 15 years since Louman and others have recognized sexual dysfunction as a "major public health concern" on the pages of JAMA. Many common health conditions and their treatments, including diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cancer, anxiety and depression, are associated with sexual dysfunction. 2 Despite the prevalence of these conditions, discussions about sexual health are uncommon in clinical encounters, perhaps because of the underlying assumptions that sexual health is not a priority. Doctors may assume that patients begin discussions about sexual health. In a study of older adults (ages 57-85), Lindau et al found that relatively low sex was considered unimportant. Yet, our understanding of the importance of sexual health in people of all ages and in different health conditions is limited.

Furthermore, many studies are less aware of the global assessments of 10 individuals' sexual satisfaction when they examine risk factors for specific sexual problems, and satisfaction differs by demographic and health characteristics. Several factors interact to determine sexual satisfaction, including culturally influenced expectations about sex and sexuality, 11 sexual interactions and sexual practices in couples, 12,13, and limited study of older women, age, race / ethnicity, and mental health. , Difficulty or agony about sexual dysfunction increases the will of men and women

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