Sexual Functioning in Military Personnel: Preliminary Estimates and Predictors

Authors

  • Sherrie L. Wilcox PhD, CHES,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR), School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
    • Corresponding Author: Sherrie L. Wilcox, PhD, CHES, Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR), School of Social Work, University of Southern California, 1150 S. Olive Street, Suite 1400, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA. Tel: 213-821-3618; Fax: 213-740-7735; E-mail: SLWilcox@USC.edu

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  • Sarah Redmond BA,

    1. Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR), School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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  • Anthony M. Hassan EdD, LCSW

    1. Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR), School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Abstract

Introduction

Although the military is a young and vigorous force, service members and veterans may experience sexual functioning problems (SFPs) as a result of military service. Sexual functioning can be impaired by physical, psychological, and social factors and can impact quality of life (QOL) and happiness.

Aims

This study aims to estimate rates and correlates of SFPs in male military personnel across demographic and psychosocial characteristics, to examine the QOL concomitants, and to evaluate barriers for treatment seeking.

Methods

This exploratory cross-sectional study was conducted using data from a larger nationwide study conducted between October 2013 and November 2013. This sample consists of 367 male active duty service members and recent veterans (military personnel) age 40 or younger.

Main Outcome Measures

Erectile dysfunction (ED) was determined using the five-item International Index of Erectile Function, sexual dysfunction (SD) was determined using the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, Male, and QOL was determined using the World Health Organization Quality of Life, Brief.

Results

SFPs were associated with various demographic, physical, and psychosocial risk factors. The rates of SD and ED were 8.45% and 33.24%, respectively, for male military personnel aged 21–40. Those who were 36–40, nonmarried, nonwhite, and of lower educational attainment reported the highest rates of SFPs. Male military personnel with poor physical and psychosocial health presented the greatest risk for ED and SD. SFPs were associated with reduced QOL and lower happiness, and barriers for treatment were generally related to social barriers.

Conclusions

SFPs in young male military personnel are an important public health concern that can severely impact QOL and happiness. Wilcox SL, Redmond S, and Hassan AM. Sexual functioning in military personnel: Preliminary estimates and predictors. J Sex Med 2014;11:2537–2545.

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