Toronto Star

Wednesday, February 10, 1999

Sex survey results stun U.S. scientists

Men, women plagued by sexual dysfunction

By Martha Irvine
Associated Press

CHICAGO - More than 40 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men regularly have no interest in sex, can't have an orgasm or suffer from some other sexual dysfunction, according to what researchers say is the most comprehensive U.S. sex survey since the 1948 Kinsey Report.

The study's lead author, University of Chicago sociologist Edward Laumann, called the findings stunning.

``I think it gives us a base for explaining why we had this enormous response to Viagra,'' he said.

The researchers said problems with sex are often coupled with everything from emotional and health problems to lack of time, job pressures and money trouble. But they said they aren't sure which comes first - stress or problems with sex.

The study is published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers based their findings on the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey, a compilation of interviews with 1,749 women and 1,410 men in the U.S.

The participants, ages 18 to 59, were asked if they had experienced sexual dysfunction over several months in the previous year. Sexual dysfunction was defined as a regular lack of interest in or pain during sex or persistent problems achieving lubrication, an erection or orgasm.

Lack of interest in sex was the most common problem for women, with about a third saying they regularly didn't want sex. Twenty-six per cent said they regularly didn't have orgasms and 23 per cent said sex wasn't pleasurable.

About a third of men said they had persistent problems with climaxing too early, while 14 per cent said they had no interest in sex and 8 per cent said they consistently derived no pleasure from sex.

Overall, 43 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men said they had one or more persistent problems with sex.

The researchers had expected the overall numbers to be closer to maybe 20 per cent for each sex.

Laumann said the findings could offer hope to millions, many of whom think they're the only ones having trouble in bed.

``Often they don't even admit it to their partners. It's the old `I've got a headache' instead of `I don't feel like having sex,' '' he said.

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