Sexual Problems Highly Prevalent Among Older Men

At least one sexual problem reported by 72 percent of men aged 75 and older

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual problems are highly prevalent in older men, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Zoë Hyde, M.P.H., from the University of Western Australia in Crawley, and colleagues investigated the prevalence and predictors of sexual problems in 3,274 community-dwelling older men, aged 75 to 95 years (mean age, 82 years). Social and medical risk factors were assessed through questionnaires in 2001 to 2004 and 2008 to 2009, and sex hormones were estimated in 2001 to 2004. In 2008 to 2009, predictors of sexual problems were measured, and these were evaluated cross-sectionally in the entire sample and longitudinally in a subset of 1,744 men with sex hormone data.

The investigators identified a high prevalence of sexual problems, with erectile problems, lack of interest in sexual activity, inability to climax, and anxiety about their ability to perform sexually reported in 49.4, 47.7, 38.7, and 20.4 percent of men, respectively. At least one sexual problem was reported by 72.0 percent of men. Less than 5 percent of men reported painful and unpleasurable sex. On multivariate binary logistic regression analyses, the factors which were most commonly associated with sexual problems included cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, prostate disorders, and insomnia. Low testosterone levels did not correlate with any complaints, except lack of interest in sex.

"Sexual problems are common in elderly men. Chronic disease, depression, and insomnia appear to be the main modifiable risk factors," the authors write.

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