Sexual function and satisfaction among heterosexual and sexual minority U.S. adults: A cross-sectional survey.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Despite known health disparities for sexual minorities, few studies have described sexual function by sexual orientation using a robust approach to measurement of sexual function. We compared recent sexual function and satisfaction by sexual orientation among English-speaking US adults. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Cross-sectional surveys were administered by KnowledgePanel® (GfK), an online panel that uses address-based probability sampling and is representative of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US population. Data were collected in 2013 from the general population (n = 3314, 35% response rate) and in 2014 from self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults (n = 1011, 50% response rate). Sexual function and satisfaction were measured using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® Sexual Function and Satisfaction measure version 2.0 (PROMIS SexFS v2). The PROMIS SexFS v2 is a comprehensive, customizable measurement system with evidence for validity in diverse populations. A score of 50 (SD 10) on each domain corresponds to the average for US adults sexually active in the past 30 days. We adjusted all statistics for the complex sample designs and report differences within each sex where the 95% CIs do not overlap, corresponding to p<0.01. Among US men who reported any sexual activity in the past 30 days, there were no differences in erectile function or orgasm-ability. Compared to heterosexual men, sexual minority men reported higher oral dryness and lower orgasm-pleasure and satisfaction. Compared to heterosexual men, gay men reported lower interest, higher anal discomfort and higher oral discomfort. Among sexually active women, there were no differences in the domains of vulvar discomfort-clitoral, orgasm-pleasure, or satisfaction. Compared to heterosexual women, sexual minority women reported higher oral dryness. Lesbian women reported lower vaginal discomfort than other women; lesbian women reported higher lubrication and orgasm-ability than heterosexual women. Bisexual women reported higher interest, higher vulvar discomfort-labial and higher anal discomfort than other women, as well as higher oral discomfort compared to heterosexual women. CONCLUSIONS: Recent sexual function and satisfaction differed by sexual orientation among US adults. Sexual minority men and women had decrements in domains of sexual function that have not traditionally been included in multi-dimensional self-report measures. Clinicians should make themselves aware of their patients' sexual concerns and recognize that sexual minority patients may be more vulnerable to certain sexual difficulties than heterosexual patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Flynn, KE; Lin, L; Weinfurt, KP

Published Date

  • 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 4

Start / End Page

  • e0174981 -

PubMed ID

  • 28403193

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5389646

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0174981


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States