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Int J Impot Res. 2008 Jan-Feb;20(1):35-44. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

Assessment of sexual function/dysfunction via patient reported outcomes.

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  • 1Center for Sexual Medicine, Sheppard Pratt Health System and Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21285, USA.


The recent recognition of the high prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and disorders in our society, along with the substantial investment of the pharmaceutical industry in the field of sexual functioning, has resulted in a significant expansion in the development of valid and reliable measures of sexual function/dysfunction. The instruments tend to be brief self-report inventories, typically requiring 10-20 min of patient time for completion. Most measures were initially developed as screening and outcomes measures for use in clinical drug trials of new treatments for sexual dysfunction, but are beginning to see more widespread use in the clinic. All these instruments must adhere to recently prescribed rigorous guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration, and have been demonstrated to be valid and reliable indicators of the status and quality of sexual functioning in both men and women. The constructs that form the framework of our diagnostic system for sexual dysfunctions are not amenable to direct physical measurement, so that currently they must be assessed via these self-report scales. Although not as precise as physical measures, these inventories do an admirable job of quantifying and registering sexual functioning status in a concise and reliable manner, and have become indispensable tools in our clinical and research programs.

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