- CHICAGO (AP) - For millions of Americans, sex ain't so hot.
- A comprehensive survey found that sexual
dysfunction afflicts 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men, with problems
including a lack of interest in sex and the inability to have an orgasm.
- ``I think it gives us a base for explaining
why we had this enormous response to Viagra,'' said Edward Laumann, a University
of Chicago sociologist and lead author of the study published in today's
Journal of the American Medical Association.
- As grim as the survey's findings are,
the results could offer hope to millions, many of whom think they're the
only ones having trouble in bed, said Laumann, who has been a paid consultant
to the company that makes Viagra.
- ``Often they don't even admit it to their
partners. It's the old `I've got a headache' instead of `I don't feel like
having sex,''' he said.
- Laumann and his co-author, Raymond Rosen,
had been paid by Pfizer Inc. to review clinical trial data on Viagra before
the impotency drug was submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- That association was not mentioned by
the journal, but Dr. Phil Fontanarosa, a JAMA editor, said today the omission
was an oversight and would be noted in a subsequent issue. Laumann said
he had told JAMA editors about the relationship before the study was published.
- The researchers said problems with sex
are often coupled with everything from emotional and health problems to
lack of time, job pressures and money trouble. But they said they aren't
sure which comes first Ø stress or problems with sex.
- The researchers based the findings on
the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey, a compilation of interviews
with 1,749 women and 1,410 men.
- The participants, ages 18 to 59, were
asked if they had experienced sexual dysfunction over several months in
the previous year. Sexual dysfunction was defined as a regular lack of
interest in or pain during sex or persistent problems achieving lubrication,
an erection or orgasm.
- Lack of interest was the most common
problem for women, with about a third saying they regularly didn't want
sex. Twenty-six percent said they regularly didn't have orgasms and 23
percent said sex wasn't pleasurable.
- About a third of men said they had persistent
problems with climaxing too early, while 14 percent said they had no interest
in sex and 8 percent said they consistently derived no pleasure from sex.
- Overall, 43 percent of women and 31 percent
of men said they had one or more persistent problems with sex. Researchers
had expected the overall numbers to be closer to maybe 20 percent for each
- Researchers said those in the survey
who experienced sexual dysfunction often were more likely to be unhappy
and more likely to describe their satisfaction with the partnership as
unsatisfactory, Laumann said.
- Dr. Domeena Renshaw, a Chicago-area sex
therapist, said the results are not surprising, considering the long list
of couples waiting to get into the sexual dysfunction clinic she has run
at the Loyola University Medical Center since 1972.
- In that time, she has treated nearly
140 couples who had never consummated their marriages, including a couple
who had been wed for 23 years.
- Rosen, co-director of the Center for
Sexual and Marital Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in
New Brunswick, N.J., said the survey provides much-needed information about
women, who have often been excluded from studies about sexual performance.
- He said the findings are the most comprehensive
on sex since Dr. Alfred Kinsey did his landmark studies in 1948. Kinsey
got similar results regarding impotence and failure to achieve orgasm but
didn't ask about lack of sexual desire.
- Too often, Rosen said, Americans have
gotten their information about sex from magazines bought at the grocery-store
- ``As a scientist, it makes my hair stand
on end,'' Rosen said. ``It's terrible.''