Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 389–408

Incidence and prevalence of the sexual dysfunctions: A critical review of the empirical literature

  • Ilana P. Spector
  • Michael P. Carey

DOI: 10.1007/BF01541933

Cite this article as:
Spector, I.P. & Carey, M.P. Arch Sex Behav (1990) 19: 389. doi:10.1007/BF01541933


The research which has assessed the incidence and prevalence of sexual dysfunctions is reviewed. Twenty-three studies are evaluated. Studies completed with community samples indicate a current prevalence of 5–10% for inhibited female orgasm, 4–9% for male erectile disorder, 4–10% for inhibited male orgasm, and 36–38% for premature ejaculation. Stable community estimates with regard to the current prevalence of female sexual arousal disorder, vaginismus, and dyspareunia are not available. Recent studies completed with clinical samples suggest an increase in the frequency of orgasmic and erectile dysfunction and a decrease in premature ejaculation as presenting problems. Desire disorders have increased as presenting problems in sex clinics, with recent data indicating that males outnumber females. Methodological limitations of these studies are identified and suggestions for future research are offered.

Key words

sexual dysfunctionprevalenceincidenceepidemiologysexuality

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilana P. Spector
    • 1
  • Michael P. Carey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA