The Sexual Event Diary (SED): Development and Validation of a Standardized Questionnaire for Assessing Female Sexual Functioning During Discrete Sexual Events

J Sex Med. 2017 Nov;14(11):1438-1450. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


Background: The efficacy of on-demand drugs for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) or female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD) should be assessed using a validated instrument that assesses the discrete sexual events during which the on-demand drug is taken.

Aim: To develop and validate an event log for measuring sexual satisfaction and sexual functioning of discrete sexual events.

Methods: Psychometric assessment was carried out on data of 10,959 Sexual Event Diaries (SEDs) collected during three clinical trials in a total of 421 women with HSDD. Cognitive debriefing interviews were held with 16 women with HSDD.

Outcomes: Item scores of the SED at the event level and at the subject level, summarized item scores of women during the baseline establishment and active treatment periods, and score changes in women from baseline establishment to active treatment.

Results: Several items of the initial 16-item SED items showed weak validity. The 16-item SED was refined to the 11-item SED. The reliability, content, and convergent validity of the 11-item SED were confirmed. For most 11-item SED item scores, the ability to discriminate between known groups was confirmed. Larger mean score changes from the baseline establishment period were found in those with than in those without known benefit from the medication, and Guyatt effect sizes ranged from 0.73 to 1.58, thereby demonstrating the ability to detect change.

Clinical translation: The SED is a good tool for assessing sexual function during a discrete sexual event and for assessing the sexual function of women over longer periods.

Strengths and limitations: The validation of the SED was performed on data from nearly 11,000 sexual events, gathered as part of a drug development program for HSDD and FSIAD. This amount of data provides very robust results when related to drug use for HSDD and FSIAD, but caution is advised when generalizing the validity of the SED directly to other areas of research (eg, recreational drug use and sexual risky behaviors), because such data were not used in this validation.

Conclusions: The 11-item SED is a reliable, valid, and responsive instrument and suitable for use in evaluating the effects of on-demand drugs in women with HSDD or FSIAD. van Nes Y, Bloemers J, van der Heijden PGM, et al. The Sexual Event Diary (SED): Development and Validation of a Standardized Questionnaire for Assessing Female Sexual Functioning During Discrete Sexual Events. J Sex Med 2017;14:1438-1450.

Keywords: Female Sexual Dysfunction; Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder; Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder; Patient Reported Outcome; Questionnaire; Reliability; Satisfactory Sexual Event; Sexual function; Validation.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Women's Health*