Epidemiology of sexual disorders in general medical practice: An Italian survey

Urologia. 2019 May;86(2):79-85. doi: 10.1177/0391560319842955. Epub 2019 Apr 14.


Objective: To report the results of a survey supported by the Italian Andrological Association (ASS.A.I.), aimed at documenting sexual disorders in a large population of patients who visited general practitioners for general health problems.

Methods: Between April and October 2016, 15,000 questionnaires were distributed to general practitioners throughout Italy and made available to all the people who visited the doctor's offices. The data were collated separately for age ranges, 15-30, 31-50 and 51-65 years, respectively.

Results: A final sample of 5441 questionnaires was evaluable (4000 men and 1441 women). Sexual disorders were reported by 1795 out of 5441 (33.0%) patients. Among the male population, phimosis, varicocele, prostate and testicular disorders were the most common conditions interfering with sexuality, being reported by 42.0%, 37.0%, 39.0% and 31.0% of the sample, respectively. Furthermore, erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, infertility, premature ejaculation and penile curvature were reported by 27.7%, 27.0%, 17.0%, 14.4% and 7.8% of the male sample, respectively. Among the female population, low sexual satisfaction was the more common complaint, reported by 65.0% of the sample. Sexually transmitted diseases, low libido, dyspareunia, infertility and arousal disorder were reported by 32.0%, 29.0%, 24.0%, 24.0% and 19.7% of the female sample, respectively.

Conclusion: Our data show sexual disorders among 33.0% of people visiting doctors' offices. The majority of these sexual disorders increased with age among both male and female subjects. Despite the limitations of our study, we consider that these data confirm the importance of sexual function evaluation during a physician's daily clinical practice.

Keywords: Sexual dysfunction; female urogenital diseases; general practice; male urogenital diseases; population surveillance; surveys and questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • General Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult