Introduction: There are only a few studies on the frequency of sexual desire in the general population, whereas studies investigating the frequency of disordered sexual desire are more common.
Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the frequency of sexual desire in a representative sample of the adult Danish population and to analyze the relationships between a number of relevant variables and sexual desire.
Methods: The study population (N = 10,458, response rate 84.8%) answered a questionnaire with questions on sexual matters. The representativity of the population was examined. The frequency of self-reported sexual desire and decrease in sexual desire over a 5-year period was calculated for the two genders across age cohorts. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the relationship between potential determinants and sexual desire.
Main outcome measures: The frequency of self-reported sexual desire and decrease in sexual desire was examined. Factors of importance for sexual desire were tested using two outcome measures: (i) often having sexual desire; and (ii) seldom having sexual desire.
Results: A significant association between gender and sexual desire was found in all age groups, as men had a significantly higher level of sexual desire than women. In both genders, the frequency of sexual desire was significantly reduced with increasing age. Among the 45- to 66-year-olds, 57% of the men and 47% of the women reported no change in the level of sexual desire over the past 5 years. In general terms, factors related to seldom having sexual desire were age and social, psychological, and physical distress in both genders.
Conclusion: This study shows that overall, men have a higher level of sexual desire than women; sexual desire decreases with increasing age; and social, psychological, or physical distress are associated with low level of sexual desire in both genders.