Longitudinal Evaluation of Sexual Function in a Male Cohort: The Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status among Men


Jennifer St. Sauver, PhD, Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Harwick 661, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Tel: (507) 538-1460; Fax: (507) 284-1516; E-mail: stsauver.jennifer@mayo.edu


Introduction.  The presence of erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction may indicate physical problems; however, individual perceptions (e.g., sexual satisfaction) may reflect the degree of concern about these changes. Long-term data showing how changes in multiple sexual function domains track together may be useful in understanding the importance of physical declines vs. sexual satisfaction.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to describe changes in sexual function among a population-based sample of aging men.

Methods.  A population-based cohort study using data from the Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status among Men. Sexual function was assessed biennially from 1996 to 2004 using a previously validated questionnaire in a random sample of 2,213 men.

Main Outcome Measures.  Changes in erectile function, libido, ejaculatory function, sexual problems, and sexual satisfaction.

Results.  Overall, we observed declines in all of the sexual function domains, ranging from an annual decrease of 0.03 point per year for sexual satisfaction to an annual decrease of 0.23 point per year in erectile function. Moderate correlations were observed among all longitudinal changes in sexual function (range in age-adjusted rs = 0.14–0.43); however, significantly smaller correlations between changes in the functional domains and changes in sexual satisfaction and problem assessment were observed among older men (range in age-adjusted rs = 0.03–0.29).

Conclusion.  Overall, these results demonstrate that longitudinal changes in five sexual function domains change together over time in our community-based cohort. Erectile function, ejaculatory function, and sexual drive decrease over time with greater rates of decline for older men. However, older men may be less likely to perceive these declines as a problem and be dissatisfied. These data may prove helpful to patients and clinicians in understanding and discussing changes in multiple aspects of sexual function. Gades NM, Jacobson DJ, McGree ME, St. Sauver JL, Lieber MM, Nehra A, Girman CJ, and Jacobsen SJ. Longitudinal evaluation of sexual function in a male cohort: The Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status among Men. J Sex Med 2009;6:2455–2466.