OBJECTIVES: To study sexual activity, the prevalence of sexual difficulties and related help-seeking behaviors, among mature adults in Canada.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A telephone survey (random digit dialed) was conducted in Canada in 2001 to 2002. Interviews were based on a standardized questionnaire, including demographics, general health, relationships, and sexual behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. The survey was completed by a total of 1007 individuals (500 men and 507 women) aged 40 to 80 years in Canada.
RESULTS: Overall, 83% of men and 71% of women had engaged in sexual intercourse during the 12 months preceding the interview, and 42% of men and 36% of women engaged in sexual intercourse more than once a week. Early ejaculation (23%) and erectile difficulties (16%) were the sexual problems most frequently reported by men. The sexual problems most frequently reported by women were a lack of sexual interest (30%) and lubrication difficulties (24%). Older age (60 to 80 years compared with 40 to 49 years) and diagnoses of depression and diabetes were all significant predictors of erectile difficulties in men. More than 75% of men and women had sought no help for their sexual problem(s) from a health professional.
CONCLUSIONS: Many middle aged and older adults in Canada report continued sexual interest and activity. Although a number of sexual problems are highly prevalent in this population, few individuals seek medical help for these problems. This may be partly because they are not sufficiently bothered by the problem or do not think that it is serious.