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J Fam Pract. 2001 Sep;50(9):773-8.

Sexual problems of male patients in family practice.

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Department of Family Practice, University of Gottingen, Humboldtallee 38, 37073 Gottingen, Germany.



Little is known about men's expectations of their family physicians regarding sexual disorders. Our goal was to evaluate the frequency of sexual problems among male patients in family practice and to assess their need for help.


We performed a cross-sectional survey based on structured questionnaires answered by patients and physicians in German family practices.


We approached 43 family physicians; 20 (43%) participated. On a single day all men 18 years and older visiting the participating practices were approached, and 307 (84%) took part in the survey.


Patients were asked about their frequency and type of sexual problems, their need for help, and their expectations of their physicians. The physicians described their perceptions and management of sexual problems in family practice.


Nearly all patients (93%) reported at least 1 sexual problem from which they suffered seldom or more often. The most common problems were low sexual desire (73%) and premature ejaculation (66%). Occupational stress was considered causative by more than half of the men (107/201). Forty-eight percent considered it important to talk with their physicians about sexual concerns. However, most physicians initiated a discussion about sexual concerns only seldom or occasionally. There was a nonsignificant correlation between the physicians' assumed knowledge and the patients' wish to contact them in case of sexual problems (rho=0.26).


The high frequency of self-reported sexual disorders and the hesitancy of family physicians to deal with this topic signals a neglected area in primary health care. Certain conditions, such as occupational stress, which may be associated with sexual concerns, should encourage the physician to initiate discussions about sexuality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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