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Keywords:

  • Male Sexual Dysfunction;
  • Men Who Have Sex with Men;
  • Internet;
  • Gay Men

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Relatively little is known about sexual dysfunction (SD) in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Aim.  In order to better understand SD symptoms in MSM, we assessed self-reported SD symptoms, individually and by latent class analysis (LCA).

Methods.  In 2004–2005 an Internet sample of U.S. MSM was recruited from gay-oriented sexual networking, chat and news websites. The analytic sample comprised 7,001 men aged 18 or older who reported lifetime male sex partners and oral or anal sex with a male partner in their most recent encounter within the past year.

Main Outcome Measures.  Seven questions on SD symptoms that occurred during the past 12 months inquired about low sexual desire, erection problems, inability to achieve an orgasm, performance anxiety, premature ejaculation, pain during sex, and sex not being pleasurable.

Results.  Self-reported symptoms of SD were high. Overall, 79% of men reported one or more SD symptoms in the past year, with low sexual desire, erection problems, and performance anxiety being the most prevalent. Four distinct underlying patterns of sexual functioning were identified by LCA: no/low SD, erection problems/performance anxiety, low desire/pleasure, and high SD/sexual pain. High SD/sexual pain was distinguished from the other patterns by club drug use and use of prescription and non-prescription erectile dysfunction medication before sex in the past year. Additionally, men associated with the high SD/sexual pain group were younger, single, more likely to have poor mental and physical health, and more likely to have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the past year compared to men in the no/low SD group.

Conclusions.  LCA enabled us to identify underlying patterns of sexual functioning among this sample of MSM recruited online. Future research should investigate these distinct subgroups with SD symptoms in order to develop tailored treatments and counseling for SD. Hirshfield S, Chiasson MA, Wagmiller RL, Remien RH, Humberstone M, Scheinmann R, and Grov C. Sexual dysfunction in an internet sample of U.S. men who have sex with men. J Sex Med 2010;7:3104–3114.