Declining Sexual Activity and Desire in Men-Findings From Representative German Surveys, 2005 and 2016

Manfred E Beutel, Juliane Burghardt, Ana N Tibubos, Eva M Klein, Gabriele Schmutzer, Elmar Brähler

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Surveys have indicated an increase of sexual activity in aging men; recently, however, a decrease of sexual activity has been reported in young men.

AIM: To assess (i) sexual activity and desire and their determinants across the age range in a population-based male sample and (ii) their changes over 11 years.

METHODS: A representative survey of men (N = 1,095) 18 to 93 years old from 2016 was compared with a survey from 2005 (N = 1,106 men) with the same age range. Samples were drawn from the German population at random using standardized sampling procedures. Questions were filled out by participants in the presence of a trained interviewer. Sexual activity was compared using logistic regression with the factors survey (2005 vs 2016), living with a partner (yes vs no), and age. Frequency of sexual desire was compared using analysis of covariance with the factors survey (2005 vs 2016), living with a partner (yes vs no), and the covariate age.

OUTCOMES: Sexual activity was assessed as having been intimate with someone in the past year; frequency of sexual desire was evaluated within the past 4 weeks.

RESULTS: The great majority of men cohabiting with a partner in 2016 was sexually active and indicated sexual desire until 70 years of age; half did so at an older age. Across the age range, men living without a partner reported considerably less sexual activity and desire. Compared with 2005, fewer men reported living with a partner. The overall proportion of men reporting sexual activity deceased from 81% to 73% in 2016 and absent sexual desire increased from 8% to 13%.

CLINICAL TRANSLATION: The findings highlight the relevance of living with a partner for sexual activity and desire. We advocate using a measure of sexual activity that encompasses many variants of intimate behavior.

STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS: Large and methodologically comparable population-based samples were compared. However, interpretations are limited by the absence of longitudinal data. We did not assess the effect of having a partner living elsewhere.

CONCLUSION: Sexual activity and desire decreased, especially in the young and middle-age groups. The decrease of men living with a partner contributed to this decreased sexual activity and desire. There was a generation effect, with younger and middle-age men living without a partner becoming less sexually active and experiencing less desire compared with the previous survey. The findings unveil changes in sexual activity and desire in a short time span. Beutel ME, Burghardt J, Tibubos AN, et al. Declining Sexual Activity and Desire in Men-Findings From Representative German Surveys, 2005 and 2016. J Sex Med 2018;15:750-756.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-756
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Libido
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Puberty, Precocious
  • Sexual Behavior/statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

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