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A population-based survey of sexual activity, sexual problems and associated help-seeking behavior patterns in mature adults in the United States of America


To study sexual activity, the prevalence of sexual dysfunction and related help-seeking behaviors among mature adults in the United States of America, a telephone survey was conducted in 2001–2002. A total of 1491 individuals (742 men/749 women) aged 40–80 years completed the survey. Overall, 79.4% of men and 69.3% of women had engaged in sexual intercourse during the 12 months preceding the interview. Early ejaculation (26.2%) and erectile difficulties (22.5%) were the most common male sexual problems. A lack of sexual interest (33.2%) and lubrication difficulties (21.5%) were the most common female sexual problems. Less than 25% of men and women with a sexual problem had sought help for their sexual problem(s) from a health professional. Many men and women in the United States report continued sexual interest and activity into middle age and beyond. Although a number of sexual problems are highly prevalent, few people seek medical help.

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We acknowledge the contribution of our colleagues on the study's International Advisory Board: Alfredo Nicolosi (Italy), Bernard Levinson (South Africa), Clive Gingell (UK), Ferruh Simsek (Turkey), Gerald Brock (Canada), Jacques Buvat (France), Ken Marumo (Japan), Rosie King (Australia), Sae-Chul Kim (Korea) and Uwe Hartmann (Germany). The Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors was funded by Pfizer Inc.

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Correspondence to E D Moreira Jr.

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Edward O Laumann and Edson D Moreira Jr are consultants for Pfizer Inc. Dale B Glasseran is an employee and stockowner of Pfizer Inc. Raimundo C S Neves—none.

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Laumann, E., Glasser, D., Neves, R. et al. A population-based survey of sexual activity, sexual problems and associated help-seeking behavior patterns in mature adults in the United States of America. Int J Impot Res 21, 171–178 (2009).

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  • epidemiology
  • health surveys
  • impotence
  • prevalence
  • sex
  • sexual disorders

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