Frailty and sexual health in older European men

David M. Lee, Abdelouahid Tajar, Rathi Ravindrarajah, Stephen R. Pye, Daryl B. O'Connor, Giovanni Corona, Matthew O'Connell, Evelien Gielen, Steven Boonen, Dirk Vanderschueren, Neil Pendleton, Joseph D. Finn, György Bartfai, Felipe F. Casanueva, Gianni Forti, Aleksander Giwercman, Thang S. Han, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi, Krzysztof Kula, Michael E J LeanMargus Punab, Frederick C W Wu, Terence W. O'Neill, DM Lee, SR Pye, JD Finn, TW O'Neill, European Male Ageing Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. There has been little research on how late-life frailty interrelates with sexual health. Our objective was to examine the association of frailty with sexual functioning and satisfaction among older men.Methods. The study population consisted of 1,504 men aged 60 to 79 years, participating in the European Male Aging Study. Self-report questionnaires measured overall sexual functioning, sexual function-related distress, and erectile dysfunction. Frailty status was defined using a phenotype (FP) or index (FI). Associations between frailty and sexual function were explored using regression models.Results. Based on the frailty phenotype, 5% of men were classified as frail, and the mean frailty index was 0.18 (SD = 0.12). Frailty was associated with decreasing overall sexual functioning and increasing sexual function-related distress in multiple linear regressions adjusted for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, living arrangements, comorbidities, and depression. Frailty was also associated with an increased odds of erectile dysfunction after adjustment for the same confounders: odds ratio = 1.99 (95% confidence interval = 1.14, 3.48) and 4.08 (95% confidence interval = 2.63, 6.36) for frailty phenotype and frailty index, respectively.Conclusions. Frailty was associated with impaired overall sexual functioning, sexual function-related distress, and erectile dysfunction. Individuals assessed for frailty-related deficits may also benefit from an appraisal of sexual health as an important aspect of well-being and quality of life. © 2012 © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-844
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • EMAS.
  • Frailty
  • Male health
  • Sexual function


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