The relationship between daily hassles and sexual function in men and women

J Sex Marital Ther. 2014;40(5):379-95. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2013.864364. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


Psychological stressors can interfere with sexual function through psychological and physiological mechanisms. Chronic stress, in particular, seems to have a negative effect on sexual functioning for men and women. The present study was designed to identify categories of stressors that contribute to sexual difficulties as well as assess the role of anxiety and depression in the relationship between stress and sexual function. Participants were recruited for an online survey in which they completed questionnaires on daily stressors, anxiety, depression, and sexual function. Results indicated that daily stressors predicted lower scores on sexual satisfaction for men and women and sexual activity for women. These effects were mediated by scores on the depression scale. Daily stressors, depression, and anxiety were highly correlated. A factor analysis of stressors resulted in 5 distinct categories of stressors. Of these, financial stressors and stressors related to low socioeconomic status were related to lower scores on all aspects of sexual functioning for women but not for men. Women's sexual functioning scores were more strongly related to stress and depression than men's scores. Results suggest that contextual factors (e.g., daily stressors, depression) are important considerations when assessing problems with sexual functioning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Libido
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires