International studies have suggested that social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to sexual dysfunction, but the impact on males in the United States is less defined.
To examine changes in male sexual function during the COVID-19 pandemic and to evaluate associated demographic variables.
Prepandemic survey data was collected between October 20, 2019 and March 1, 2020 on adult males in the United States. Follow-up survey data collected for comparison during the COVID-19 pandemic between August 1, 2020 and October 10, 2020 included International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety with 4 items (PHQ-4) scores, and questions regarding sexual frequency. Questions were also asked about mask-wearing habits, job loss, relationship changes, and proximity to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.
Differences in prepandemic and pandemic male sexual function assessed by self-reported IIEF domain scores and sexual frequency RESULTS: Seventy six men completed both prepandemic and pandemic surveys with a mean age of 48.3 years. Overall, there were no differences in either overall IIEF score or any subdomain score when comparing men’s pre-pandemic and pandemic survey data. There was an increase in sexual frequency during the pandemic with 45% of men reporting sex ten or more times per month during the pandemic compared to only 25% of men prior to the pandemic (P = .03). Among the subgroup of 36 men who reported a decrease in IIEF, the decrease was an average of 3.97, and significantly associated with higher PHQ-4 depression subscale scores (1.78 vs 1.03, P = .02).
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with increased sexual frequency and no change in overall sexual function in males in the United States. Interventions intended to promote male sexual health during the COVID-19 pandemic should include a focus on mental health. T Chen, HP Bhambhvani, AM Kasman, et al. The Association of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Male Sexual Function in the United States: A Survey Study of Male Cannabis Users. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX-XXX.
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