Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 121–132 | Cite as

Sexual Dysfunctions and Difficulties in Denmark: Prevalence and Associated Sociodemographic Factors

  • Birgitte S. Christensen
  • Morten Grønbæk
  • Merete Osler
  • Bo V. Pedersen
  • Christian Graugaard
  • Morten Frisch
Original Paper


Sexual dysfunctions and difficulties are common experiences that may impact importantly on the perceived quality of life, but prevalence estimates are highly sensitive to the definitions used. We used questionnaire data for 4415 sexually active Danes aged 16–95 years who participated in a national health and morbidity survey in 2005 to estimate the prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and difficulties and to identify associated sociodemographic factors. Overall, 11% (95% CI, 10–13%) of men and 11% (10–13%) of women reported at least one sexual dysfunction (i.e., a frequent sexual difficulty that was perceived as a problem) in the last year, while another 68% (66–70%) of men and 69% (67–71%) of women reported infrequent or less severe sexual difficulties. Estimated overall frequencies of sexual dysfunctions among men were: premature ejaculation (7%), erectile dysfunction (5%), anorgasmia (2%), and dyspareunia (0.1%); among women: lubrication insufficiency (7%), anorgasmia (6%), dyspareunia (3%), and vaginismus (0.4%). Highest frequencies of sexual dysfunction were seen in men above age 60 years and women below age 30 years or above age 50 years. In logistic regression analysis, indicators of economic hardship in the family were positively associated with sexual dysfunctions, notably among women. In conclusion, while a majority of sexually active adults in Denmark experience sexual difficulties with their partner once in a while, approximately one in nine suffer from frequent sexual difficulties that constitute a threat to their well-being. Sexual dysfunctions seem to be more common among persons who experience economic hardship in the family.


Sexual dysfunctions Epidemiology Prevalence Risk factors 



This study was funded by the Danish Medical Research Council, the Lundbeck Foundation, The Health Insurance Foundation, Aase and Einar Danielsens Foundation, Carl J. Beckers Foundation, Frode V. Nyegaard and wife’s Foundation, Krista and Viggo Petersens Foundation, and Torben and Alice Frimodts Foundation.


  1. Ahn, T. Y., Park, J. K., Lee, S. W., Hong, J. H., Park, N. C., Kim, J. J., et al. (2007). Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in Korean men: Results of an epidemiological study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 4, 1269–1276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Chew, K. K., Stuckey, B., Bremner, A., Earle, C., & Jamrozik, K. (2008). Male erectile dysfunction: Its prevalence in Western Australia and associated sociodemographic factors. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 60–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dalton, S. O., Schüz, J., Engholm, G., Johansen, C., Kjær, S. K., Steding-Jessen, M., et al. (2008). Social inequality in incidence of and survival from cancer in a population-based study in Denmark, 1994–2003: Summary of findings. European Journal of Cancer, 44, 2074–2085.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dunn, K. M., Croft, P. R., & Hackett, G. I. (1998). Sexual problems: A study of the prevalence and need for health care in the general population. Family Practice, 15, 519–524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eplov, L., Giraldi, A., Davidsen, M., Garde, K., & Kamper-Jørgensen, F. (2007). Sexual desire in a nationally representative Danish population. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 4, 47–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fugl-Meyer, A. R., & Fugl-Meyer, K. S. (1999). Sexual disabilities, problems and satisfaction in 18–74 year old Swedes. Scandinavian Journal of Sexology, 2, 79–105.Google Scholar
  8. Garde, K., & Lunde, I. (1984). Influence of social status on female sexual behaviour. A random sample study of 40-year-old Danish women. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 2, 5–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Graugaard, C., Eplov, L. F., Giraldi, A., Kristensen, E., Munck, E., & Møhl, B. (2004). Denmark. In R. T. Francoeur & R. J. Noonan (Eds.), International encyclopedia of sexuality (pp. 329–344). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  10. Harrell, F. (2001). Regression modeling strategies: With applications to linear models, logistic regression, and survival analysis. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  11. Laumann, E. O., Nicolosi, A., Glasser, D. B., Paik, A., Gingell, C., Moreira, E., et al. (2005). Sexual problems among women and men aged 40–80 y: Prevalence and correlates identified in the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. International Journal of Impotence Research, 17, 39–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Laumann, E. O., Paik, A., & Rosen, R. C. (1999). Sexual dysfunction in the United States: Prevalence and predictors. Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 537–544.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lewis, R. W., Fugl-Meyer, K. S., Bosch, R., Fugl-Meyer, A. R., Laumann, E. O., & Lizza, E. (2004). Definitions, classification, and epidemiology of sexual dysfunction. In T. F. Lue, R. Basson, R. Rosen, F. Giuliano, S. Khoury, & F. Montorsi (Eds.), Sexual medicine: Sexual dysfunction in men and women (pp. 37–72). Paris: Health Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Lyngdorf, P., & Hemmingsen, L. (2004). Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction and its risk factors: A practice-based study in Denmark. International Journal of Impotence Research, 16, 105–111.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mak, R., De, B. G., Kornitzer, M., & De Meyer, J. M. (2002). Prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction in a population-based study in Belgium. European Urology, 41, 132–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mercer, C. H., Fenton, K. A., Johnson, A. M., Copas, A. J., Macdowall, W., Erens, B., et al. (2005). Who reports sexual function problems? Empirical evidence from Britain’s 2000 national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 81, 394–399.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mercer, C. H., Fenton, K. A., Johnson, A. M., Wellings, K., Macdowall, W., McManus, S., et al. (2003). Sexual function problems and help seeking behaviour in Britain: National probability sample survey. British Medical Journal, 327, 426–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Montorsi, F. (2005). Prevalence of premature ejaculation: A global and regional perspective. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2(Suppl 2), 96–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moreira, E. D., Hartmann, U., Glasser, D. B., & Gingell, C. (2005). A population survey of sexual activity, sexual dysfunction and associated help-seeking behavior in middle-aged and older adults in Germany. European Journal of Medical Research, 10, 434–443.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Moreira, E. D., Kim, S. C., Glasser, D., & Gingell, C. (2006). Sexual activity, prevalence of sexual problems, and associated help-seeking patterns in men and women aged 40–80 years in Korea: Data from the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors (GSSAB). Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3, 201–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moreira, E. D., Lisboa Lobo, C. F., Villa, M., Nicolosi, A., & Glasser, D. B. (2002). Prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction in Salvador, northeastern Brazil: A population-based study. International Journal of Impotence Research, 14(Suppl 2), S3–S9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nazareth, I., Boynton, P., & King, M. (2003). Problems with sexual function in people attending London general practitioners: Cross sectional study. British Medical Journal, 327, 423–426.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nicolosi, A., Glasser, D. B., Moreira, E. D., & Villa, M. (2003a). Prevalence of erectile dysfunction and associated factors among men without concomitant diseases: A population study. International Journal of Impotence Research, 15, 253–257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nicolosi, A., Moreira, E. D., Shirai, M., Bin Mohd Tambi, M. I., & Glasser, D. B. (2003b). Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction in four countries: Cross-national study of the prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction. Urology, 61, 201–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Öberg, K., Fugl-Meyer, A. R., & Fugl-Meyer, K. S. (2004). On categorization and quantification of women’s sexual dysfunctions: An epidemiological approach. International Journal of Impotence Research, 16, 261–269.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pedersen, C. B., Gøtzsche, H., Møller, J. O., & Mortensen, P. B. (2006). The Danish Civil Registration System. A cohort of eight million persons. Danish Medical Bulletin, 53, 441–449.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Rasmussen, N. K., & Kjøller, M. (2004). The National Institute of Public Health’s program for health and morbidity surveys. Ugeskrift for Laeger, 166, 1438–1441.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Richters, J., Grulich, A. E., de Visser, R. O., Smith, A. M., & Rissel, C. E. (2003). Sex in Australia: Sexual difficulties in a representative sample of adults. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 27, 164–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Selvin, E., Burnett, A. L., & Platz, E. A. (2007). Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US. American Journal of Medicine, 120, 151–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. The Danish Ministry of Health. (2000). Social inequality in health. Differences in health, lifestyle, and use of the health care system. Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck A/S.Google Scholar
  31. Ventegodt, S. (1998). Sex and the quality of life in Denmark. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 295–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgitte S. Christensen
    • 1
  • Morten Grønbæk
    • 2
  • Merete Osler
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bo V. Pedersen
    • 1
  • Christian Graugaard
    • 5
  • Morten Frisch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology ResearchStatens Serum InstitutCopenhagen SDenmark
  2. 2.National Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Research Centre for Prevention and HealthGlostrup University HospitalGlostupDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public HealthCopenhagen UniversityCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Copenhagen University LibraryCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations