Background: That sexual dysfunction occurs in schizophrenia is not in doubt. Previous studies have had weaknesses such as the use of selected populations or the absence of a control group.
Aims: To measure rates of sexual dysfunction in people with schizophrenia compared with the general population.
Method: Sexual dysfunction was assessed by a self-completed gender-specific questionnaire. Ninety-eight (73%) of 135 persons with schizophrenia and 81 (71%) of 114 persons recruited as controls returned the questionnaire.
Results: At least one sexual dysfunction was reported by 82% of men and 96% of women with schizophrenia. Male patients reported less desire for sex, were less likely to achieve and maintain an erection, were more likely to ejaculate more quickly and were less satisfied with the intensity of their orgasms. Female patients reported less enjoyment than the control group. Sexual dysfunction in female patients was associated with negative schizophrenic symptoms and general psychopathology. There was no association between sexual dysfunction and type of antipsychotic medication.
Conclusions: People with schizophrenia report much higher rates of sexual dysfunction than do the general population. Men and women with schizophrenia have a different pattern of sexual dysfunction.