Importance of and Satisfaction with Sex Among Men and Women Worldwide: Results of the Global Better Sex Survey


John Mulhall, MD, Dept of Urology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 525 E 68th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA. Tel: (212) 746-0097; Fax: 212-746-0403; E-mail:


Introduction.  It is now increasingly recognized that sexual health is important to overall good health and well-being.

Aim.  The Global Better Sex Survey (GBSS) explored the sexual aspirations and unmet needs of men and women worldwide.

Main Outcome Measures.  Participant responses to survey questions.

Methods.  Data were collected during 2005 in 27 countries by phone, door-to-door, and street-intercept interview. Data were weighted by demographic characteristics to accurately reflect the general population of each country.

Results.  Of the 12,563 respondents (men = 6,291, women = 6,272), 46% of men and 48% of women were younger than 40 years, 41% were 40–59 years, and 11% were 60 years or older. Nearly all men (91%) and women (94%) were married, living with a partner, or in a relationship. All aspects of sex (intercourse, foreplay, orgasm, attraction to partner) were important to men and women. Nearly half (48%) of men surveyed reported some degree of erectile dysfunction (ED). A significant proportion of men (65%) were not very satisfied with their erection hardness (63% of women were not very satisfied with their partner's erection hardness). An association existed between satisfaction with erection hardness and satisfaction with sex life, love and romance, and overall health. Only 7% of men reported using a prescription medication for ED. However, 74% of men were willing to take medication to improve their erections if they thought they had ED; 64% of women would support such a decision.

Conclusions.  The GBSS reports the sexual needs and desires of men and women worldwide. Erectile function and the effect of ED on aspects of the sexual experience emerged as the most pressing concerns among male participants. Mulhall J, King R, Glina S, and Hvidsten K. Importance of and satisfaction with sex among men and women worldwide: Results of the Global Better Sex Survey. J Sex Med 2008;5:788–795.