Questionnaires to measure sexual quality of life

Renata Arrington, Joseph Cofrancesco, Albert W. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Context: Sex is important to quality of life. There are a number of questionnaires to measure sexual-function, but many lack applicability and usefulness to certain groups. Objective: To identify questionnaires measuring sexual function, determine the domains most commonly assessed, and examine evidence for their usefulness in different populations. Data sources: Computerized literature search using Medline, PubMed and PsychLit, reference lists, and unpublished reports, published in English between 1957 and 2001. MESH terms included sexual function, sexual dysfunction, sexual satisfaction, quality of life, and questionnaire. Articles were excluded if the questionnaire did not measure sexual function from the patient perspective. Data extraction: Questionnaires were grouped as general questionnaires that include a sexual function domain, and sexual-function-specific questionnaires. Questionnaires were evaluated for domains, applicability to different populations, and evidence for reliability, validity and responsiveness. Data synthesis: Literature search yielded 62 questionnaires, 57 which assessed sexual function from the patient perspective; 12 were general and 45 specific. Six domains were commonly represented, including interest and desire, satisfaction/quality of experience, excitement/arousal, performance, attitude/behavior, and relationship. Only 28% could be used in homosexual patients, and 52% were applicable to both genders; 57% were designed for use in chronic disease populations. Only nine questionnaires had evidence for both adequate reliability and validity. Conclusions: Current measures of sexual functioning often exclude important domains, lack applicability to gender and sexual preference groups, or lack adequate testing of validity and testing in important populations. Future questionnaires should take into account these concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1658
Number of pages16
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Quality of life
  • Questionnaire
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual function
  • Sexual satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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