ORIGINAL RESEARCH—EPIDEMIOLOGY: Sexual Desire in a Nationally Representative Danish Population


Lene Eplov, MD, PhD, Copenhagen County Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Glostrup University Hospital, Nordre Ringvej 57, DK-Glostrup 2600, Denmark. Tel: (+45) 43 23 32 60. Fax: (+45) 43 23 39 77; E-mail: falgaard@dadlnet.dk


Introduction.  There are only a few studies on the frequency of sexual desire in the general population, whereas studies investigating the frequency of disordered sexual desire are more common.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to describe the frequency of sexual desire in a representative sample of the adult Danish population and to analyze the relationships between a number of relevant variables and sexual desire.

Methods.  The study population (N = 10,458, response rate 84.8%) answered a questionnaire with questions on sexual matters. The representativity of the population was examined. The frequency of self-reported sexual desire and decrease in sexual desire over a 5-year period was calculated for the two genders across age cohorts. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the relationship between potential determinants and sexual desire.

Main Outcome Measures.  The frequency of self-reported sexual desire and decrease in sexual desire was examined. Factors of importance for sexual desire were tested using two outcome measures: (i) often having sexual desire; and (ii) seldom having sexual desire.

Results.  A significant association between gender and sexual desire was found in all age groups, as men had a significantly higher level of sexual desire than women. In both genders, the frequency of sexual desire was significantly reduced with increasing age. Among the 45- to 66-year-olds, 57% of the men and 47% of the women reported no change in the level of sexual desire over the past 5 years. In general terms, factors related to seldom having sexual desire were age and social, psychological, and physical distress in both genders.

Conclusion.  This study shows that overall, men have a higher level of sexual desire than women; sexual desire decreases with increasing age; and social, psychological, or physical distress are associated with low level of sexual desire in both genders. Eplov L, Giraldi A, Davidsen M, Garde K, and Kamper-Jørgensen F. Sexual desire in a nationally representative Danish population. J Sex Med 2007;4:47–56.