Physical and Mental Health Problems and Their Associations With Inter-Personal Sexual Inactivity and Sexual Dysfunctions in Denmark: Baseline Assessment in a National Cohort Study

Mikkel K Bahnsen, Christian Graugaard, Mikael Andersson, Josefine B Andresen, Morten Frisch

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Abstract

Background: Physical and mental health are important to sexual function and wellbeing. Yet, associations of ill-health with sexual inactivity and dysfunctions are scarcely researched at population level. Aim: To explore and document associations of self-rated health and physical and mental health problems with inter-personal sexual inactivity and sexual dysfunctions. Methods: We used data from a probability-based, nationally representative sample of 60,958 sexually experienced Danes aged 15–89 years who participated in the 2017–18 Project SEXUS cohort study. Logistic regression analyses provided demographically weighted odds ratios for associations between health measures and sexual outcomes adjusted for partner status and other potential confounders. Outcomes: Inter-personal sexual inactivity and a range of male and female sexual dysfunctions. Results: Inter-personal sexual inactivity was more common among individuals with bad or very bad self-rated health compared to peers rating their health as good or very good (men: adjusted odds ratio 1.93, 95% confidence interval 1.66–2.25; women: 1.66, 1.42–1.94). Individuals rating their health as bad or very bad were also consistently more likely to report sexual dysfunctions, with associated statistically significant adjusted odds ratios ranging from 1.66 to 6.38 in men and from 2.25 to 3.20 in women. Patient groups at high risk of sexual dysfunctions comprised individuals afflicted by cardiovascular diseases, pain conditions, diabetes, gastrointestinal and liver diseases, cancer, skin diseases, nervous system diseases, gynecological diseases, benign prostatic hyperplasia, other physical health problems, stress, anxiety, affective disorders, self-injury or suicide ideation and attempts, posttraumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychoses and other mental health problems. Clinical Implications: These findings warrant heightened awareness among healthcare professionals, public health promoters and researchers concerning insufficiently appreciated sexual challenges among individuals with poor health. Strengths & Limitations: The major strengths of our investigation include the large size of the study cohort, the detailed assessment of health-related variables, potential confounders and sexual outcomes, and the fact that we provide new population-based knowledge about less common and sparsely researched sexual dysfunctions and diseases. Limitations of our study include its cross-sectional nature and its modest response rate (35%). Conclusion: Findings from our large and nationally representative cohort study provide evidence that poor self-rated health and a range of specific physical and mental health problems are associated with statistically significantly increased rates of inter-personal sexual inactivity and sexual dysfunctions. Bahnsen MK, Graugaard C, Andersson M, et al. Physical and Mental Health Problems and Their Associations With Inter-Personal Sexual Inactivity and Sexual Dysfunctions in Denmark: Baseline Assessment in a National Cohort Study. J Sex Med 2022;19:1562–1579.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume19
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1562-1579
Number of pages18
ISSN1743-6095
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Chronic Diseases
  • Denmark
  • Epidemiology
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Dysfunctions
  • Sexual Health

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