Risk factors associated with primary and secondary reduced libido in male patients with sexual dysfunction

J Sex Med. 2013 Apr;10(4):1074-89. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12043. Epub 2013 Jan 24.


Introduction: Hypoactive sexual desire is defined as a persistent or recurrent deficient or absent sexual fantasies or desire for sexual activity that should not be comorbid with other medical conditions or with the use of psychoactive medications. Reduced libido is a symptom referring more to a reduction in sexual drive for sexual activity.

Aim: To investigate the risk factors of primary reduced libido (i.e., not associated with conditions causing loss of libido such as hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia, psychopathology, and/or psychoactive medications) or secondary reduced libido (i.e., with aforementioned conditions) in male patients with sexual dysfunction.

Method: A consecutive series of 3,714 men (mean age 53.2 ± 12.5 years) was retrospectively studied.

Main outcome measures: Patient's reduced libido was evaluated using question #14 of structured interview for erectile dysfunction (SIEDY) ("Did you have more or less desire to make love in the last 3 months?").

Results: Reduced libido was comorbid with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and delayed ejaculation in 38%, 28.2%, and 50%, respectively, whereas it was isolated in 5.1%. Reduced libido prevalence was substantially increased by hypogonadism, almost doubled by psychopathology and universally present in subjects with hyperprolactinemia (secondary reduced libido). Subjects with primary reduced libido are characterized by higher postschool qualification, more disturbances in domestic and dyadic relationships, and an overall healthy body (lower glycemia and triglyceride levels). Accordingly, in patients with primary reduced libido, the risk of major cardiovascular events as calculated with the Progetto Cuore algorithm was lower than in the rest of the sample. Features of hypogonadism- or psychopathology-associated reduced libido essentially reflect their underlying conditions. Comorbidity with other sexual dysfunctions did not affect the main characteristics of primary or secondary reduced libido.

Conclusions: Primary and secondary reduced libido have different risk factors and clinical characteristics. Recognizing primary or secondary reduced libido will help clinicians to identify comorbidities and to tailor appropriate treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Blood Glucose
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coitus
  • Educational Status
  • Family Conflict
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / complications
  • Hypogonadism / complications
  • Libido*
  • Male
  • Masturbation
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / complications
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Testosterone
  • Cholesterol