Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 55–63 | Cite as

The Association of Sexual Dysfunction and Substance Use Among a Community Epidemiological Sample

  • Sharon D. Johnson
  • Deborah L. Phelps
  • Linda B. Cottler


This study examines the prevalence of DSM-III sexual dysfunctions and their association with comorbid drug and alcohol use in a community epidemiologic sample. The data for these analyses are based on the Epidemiological Catchment Area Project, a multistage probability study of the incidence and prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the general population conducted in 1981–83. Only the sample of 3,004 adult community residents in the St. Louis area was queried on DSM-III sexual dysfunctions of inhibited orgasm, functional dyspareunia (painful sex), inhibited sexual excitement (i.e., lack of erection/arousal), and inhibited sexual desire. There was a prevalence rate of 11% for inhibited orgasm, 13% for painful sex, 5% for inhibited sexual excitement, 7% for inhibited sexual desire, and 26% for any of these sexual dysfunctions (14% for men and 33% for women). The prevalence of qualifying lifetime substance use among the population was 37%, with males meeting more drug and alcohol use criteria than females. After controlling for demographics, health status variables, and psychiatric comorbidity (depression disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and residual disorders), inhibited orgasm was associated with marijuana and alcohol use. Painful sex was associated with illicit drug use and marijuana use. Inhibited sexual excitement was more likely among illicit drug users. Inhibited sexual desire was not associated with drug or alcohol use.

sexual dysfunction substance use comorbidity epidemiology DSM Epidemiological Catchment Area Project 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon D. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Deborah L. Phelps
    • 3
  • Linda B. Cottler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of Missouri–St. LouisSt. Louis
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis
  3. 3.Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Social SciencesFontbonne UniversitySt. Louis

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