Send to

Choose Destination
Diabetes Care. 2010 Oct;33(10):2202-10. doi: 10.2337/dc10-0524. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

Sexuality among middle-aged and older adults with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes: a national, population-based study.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Program for Integrative Sexual Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



To describe sexual activity, behavior, and problems among middle-age and older adults by diabetes status.


This was a substudy of 1,993 community-residing adults, aged 57-85 years, from a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample (N = 3,005). In-home interviews, observed medications, and A1C were used to stratify by diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or no diabetes. Logistic regression was used to model associations between diabetes conditions and sexual characteristics, separately by gender.


The survey response rate was 75.5%. More than 60% of partnered individuals with diagnosed diabetes were sexually active. Women with diagnosed diabetes were less likely than men with diagnosed diabetes (adjusted odds ratio 0.28 [95% CI 0.16-0.49]) and other women (0.63 [0.45-0.87]) to be sexually active. Partnered sexual behaviors did not differ by gender or diabetes status. The prevalence of orgasm problems was similarly elevated among men with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes compared with that for other men, but erectile difficulties were elevated only among men with diagnosed diabetes (2.51 [1.53 to 4.14]). Women with undiagnosed diabetes were less likely to have discussed sex with a physician (11%) than women with diagnosed diabetes (19%) and men with undiagnosed (28%) or diagnosed (47%) diabetes.


Many middle-age and older adults with diabetes are sexually active and engage in sexual behaviors similarly to individuals without diabetes. Women with diabetes were more likely than men to cease all sexual activity. Older women with diabetes are as likely to have sexual problems but are significantly less likely than men to discuss them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center