The sexual lives of medical students: a single institution survey

Alan W Shindel, Genoa G Ferguson, Christian J Nelson, Steven B Brandes
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2008, 5 (4): 796-803

INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the personal sexual lives of medical students.

AIM: To assess sexual habits and determine the presence of sexual dysfunction among medical students.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic and sexual experience data and domain scores on validated sexuality surveys. Instruments selected included the International Index of Erectile Function, the Index of Premature Ejaculation, and the Self Esteem and Relationship Quality Survey for male medical students and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), and the Index of Sex Life for female medical students.

METHODS: Medical students at our institution were invited to complete a demographic questionnaire and gender- appropriate sexuality surveys. Results were compared with established normative data and validated cut-off scores when available. Linear regression and Pearson coefficient were used to assess relationships between variables.

RESULTS: There were 132 responses (78 female mean age 24 years, 54 male, mean age 25 years). Condoms and oral contraceptives were the most popular form of contraception. Among men, 81.5%, 37%, and 93% were in a relationship, married, and heterosexual, respectively. Among women, 64%, 18%, and 95% were in a relationship, married, and heterosexual. Erectile dysfunction was reported by 30% of men. Proxy measures of other sexual problems in men revealed a 28% prevalence of dissatisfaction with sex life, a 28% prevalence of problems controlling ejaculation, an 11% prevalence of orgasmic dysfunction, and a 6% prevalence of low sexual desire. Based on validated FSFI scoring, 63% of women were at high risk of sexual dysfunction. Proxy measures of other problems in women indicated disorders of pain, orgasms, desire, sex satisfaction, lubrication, and arousal in 39%, 37%, 32%, 28%, 26%, and 24% of female respondents, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These data provide insight into the sexual lives of medical students. Rates of sexual dysfunction are higher than expected based on normative data. Further research is required.

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