The sexual lives of residents and fellows in graduate medical education programs: a single institution survey

Genoa G Ferguson, Christian J Nelson, Steven B Brandes, Alan W Shindel
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2008, 5 (12): 2756-65

INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of sexual problems among resident physicians has not been investigated.

AIM: To explore the sexual behavior of residents and fellows in training and to determine the incidence of sexual dysfunction in this population.

METHODS: Residents and fellows at our institution were invited to complete a demographic questionnaire, as well as two to three gender-specific validated instruments for the assessment of human sexuality.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The validated survey instruments selected were the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), the Index of Premature Ejaculation (IPE), and the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality (SEAR) survey for male residents, and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and the Index of Sex Life (ISL) for female residents. Results were compared with established normative data and validated cut-off scores that were available. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess for relationships between variables.

RESULTS: There were 180 responses (83 female, 97 male, mean age 29 years), for a response rate of 20%. Among men, 90%, 67%, and 98% were in a relationship, married, and heterosexual, respectively. Among women, the same numbers were 80%, 55%, and 96%, respectively. Based on validated cut-off scores for the IIEF and FSFI, 13% of men reported ED (3% reported mild ED, 4% reported moderate ED, and 6% reported severe ED) and 60% of women were classified as "at high risk" for sexual problems, with desire disorders the most prevalent and orgasmic disorders the second most prevalent. There were significant gender differences with respect to the associations between sexual and relationship problems.

CONCLUSIONS: Sexual problems may be prevalent among residents in training, particularly female residents. Additional, larger studies that assess other quality of life measures and query sexual partners of residents are needed.

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