Table 2

Factors associated with lacking interest in having sex for at least 3 months in the past year and being distressed about it in sexually active men and women

MenWomenp Value for interaction with sex*
Denom. (unwt, wt)%(95% CI)Age-adjusted OR(95% CI)p ValueDenom. (unwt, wt)%(95% CI)Age-adjusted OR(95% CI)p Value
All4839, 59738.2(7.4 to 9.1)6669, 575520.8(19.6 to 22.0)
Sociodemographics
Age group (years)0.0011<0.00010.8971
 16–241279, 9364.8(3.7 to 6.4)11662, 92315.2(13.4 to 17.3)1
 25–341376, 12388.0(6.7 to 9.5)1.7(1.19 to 2.41)2236, 124620.9(19.0 to 22.8)1.47(1.22 to 1.76)
 35–44719, 12989.6(7.5 to 12.3)2.09(1.40 to 3.13)1050, 129022.9(20.3 to 25.7)1.65(1.34 to 2.04)
 45–54630, 11869.7(7.4 to 12.6)2.11(1.38 to 3.22)871, 118623.3(20.4 to 26.6)1.69(1.35 to 2.13)
 55–64512, 8499.4(7.0 to 12.6)2.04(1.30 to 3.21)569, 75521.8(18.3 to 25.8)1.55(1.20 to 2.01)
 65–74323, 4675.5(3.4 to 8.6)1.13(0.65 to 1.99)281, 35516.5(12.4 to 21.7)1.10(0.76 to 1.59)
Index of Multiple Deprivation (quintiles)†0.83390.09380.4592
 1 (least deprived)977, 12798.1(6.2 to 10.4)11248, 120823.3(20.7 to 26.1)1
 2962, 12647.4(5.7 to 9.6)0.92(0.62 to 1.36)1290, 120820.8(18.2 to 23.5)0.87(0.69 to 1.09)
 3942, 11698.3(6.4 to 10.6)1.05(0.71 to 1.55)1299, 111619.6(17.1 to 22.4)0.82(0.65 to 1.03)
 4967, 11848.8(6.9 to 11.1)1.14(0.78 to 1.66)1384, 113721.9(19.3 to 24.7)0.95(0.76 to 1.18)
 5 (most deprived)991, 10778.6(6.7 to 10.9)1.12(0.75 to 1.65)1448, 108618.2(15.9 to 20.6)0.75(0.60 to 0.94)
Education level‡0.49580.73240.4496
 Left school aged 17+2862, 34647.9(6.8 to 9.2)14150, 340620.8(19.4 to 22.4)1
 Left school at 161873, 24378.8(7.5 to 10.4)1.09(0.85 to 1.41)2409, 228721.1(19.3 to 23.1)0.97(0.83 to 1.14)
Employment status0.00010.00030.1244
 Employed3211, 42548.3(7.3 to 9.5)13871, 351721.6(20.1 to 23.2)1
 Full-time education542, 4314.9(2.8 to 8.6)0.74(0.38 to 1.44)693, 42314.8(11.8 to 18.4)0.75(0.56 to 1.01)
 Unemployed707, 72312.1(9.5 to 15.3)1.56(1.14 to 2.13)1681, 128222.3(19.9 to 24.9)1.07(0.90 to 1.27)
 Retired375, 5624.9(3.1 to 7.6)0.41(0.23 to 0.71)415, 52416.8(13.4 to 20.8)0.57(0.41 to 0.79)
Practises religion at least once a month0.16380.01670.8143
 No4283, 51798.5(7.5 to 9.5)15659, 475421.5(20.2 to 22.9)1
 Yes521, 7486.4(4.4 to 9.4)0.73(0.48 to 1.13)956, 94518.0(15.3 to 20.9)0.78(0.63 to 0.96)
Health
Self-reported general health<0.0001<0.00010.0969
 Very good/good4123, 50557.0(6.1 to 7.9)15683, 485119.2(18.0 to 20.5)1
 Fair580, 74513.3(10.5 to 16.8)2.04(1.50 to 2.78)780, 70927.9(24.3 to 31.9)1.60(1.30 to 1.97)
 Bad/very bad135, 17122.6(15.3 to 32.1)3.85(2.31 to 6.40)206, 19533.4(26.3 to 41.4)2.05(1.45 to 2.91)
Difficulty walking up stairs because of a health problem0.00010.00850.1553
 No difficulty4475, 54607.6(6.7 to 8.6)16062, 510720.1(18.9 to 21.4)1
 Some difficulty278, 39312.3(8.8 to 17.0)1.67(1.11 to 2.52)450, 48224.1(20.0 to 28.7)1.21(0.93 to 1.59)
 Much difficulty/unable to do this86, 12022.2(13.5 to 34.2)3.36(1.79 to 6.32)157, 16632.3(24.3 to 41.5)1.81(1.21 to 2.70)
Long-standing illness or disability<0.0001<0.00010.0345
 No3585, 42596.5(5.6 to 7.5)14843, 402618.7(17.4 to 20.0)1
 Yes1253, 171312.5(10.6 to 14.8)2.09(1.60 to 2.74)1825, 172925.7(23.4 to 28.2)1.48(1.27 to 1.74)
Number of comorbid conditions§<0.0001<0.00010.5779
 03453, 39946.4(5.5 to 7.5)14357, 353617.3(15.9 to 18.7)1
 1939, 132911.0(9.0 to 13.4)1.88(1.37 to 2.57)1555, 141624.1(21.7 to 26.7)1.54(1.30 to 1.83)
 ≥2446, 65013.3(10.1 to 17.4)2.40(1.61 to 3.59)755, 80230.5(26.8 to 34.4)2.16(1.74 to 2.69)
Depressive symptoms¶<0.0001<0.00010.0370
 No4383, 54716.8(6.0 to 7.7)15885, 514918.6(17.4 to 19.8)1
 Yes449, 49523.7(19.3 to 28.9)4.36(3.20 to 5.94)780, 60239.6(35.4 to 44.0)2.94(2.41 to 3.59)
Treated for depression, past year<0.0001<0.00010.0371
 No4524, 56307.3(6.5 to 8.2)15770, 504018.5(17.3 to 19.8)1
 Yes313, 34223.0(17.9 to 29.1)3.81(2.71 to 5.36)897, 71336.4(32.9 to 40.2)2.54(2.12 to 3.03)
Menopausal status0.9656
 Not menopausal5485, 418720.2(18.9 to 21.5)1
 Menopausal1167, 154822.5(20.0 to 25.2)1.01(0.76 to 1.32)
Circumcised0.4097
 No3909, 47288.3(7.4 to 9.4)1
 Yes857, 11667.5(5.7 to 9.9)0.87(0.62 to 1.22)
Sexual behaviour
Number of occasions of sex, past four weeks<0.0001<0.00010.5496
 01013, 116310.3(8.3 to 12.7)11408, 124523.2(20.7 to 26.0)1
 1–21160, 156610.5(8.6 to 12.8)1.02(0.74 to 1.42)1481, 137324.2(21.8 to 26.9)1.06(0.87 to 1.30)
 3–4870, 11687.4(5.6 to 9.8)0.71(0.48 to 1.04)1240, 113021.3(18.7 to 24.2)0.91(0.73 to 1.13)
 5+1617, 18695.0(3.9 to 6.4)0.46(0.33 to 0.66)2078, 165514.7(12.9 to 16.7)0.58(0.47 to 0.72)
Masturbation, past four weeks0.01640.72650.0309
 No1297, 18286.9(5.5 to 8.6)14032, 361221.1(19.6 to 22.6)1
 Yes3531, 41328.8(7.7 to 9.9)1.42(1.07 to 1.88)2615, 211420.3(18.4 to 22.2)0.97(0.84 to 1.13)
Number of sexual partners, past year**0.24660.00160.4744
 13573, 48248.5(7.5 to 9.6)15440, 501221.6(20.3 to 22.9)1
 2539, 5136.3(4.3 to 9.1)0.75(0.49 to 1.14)570, 36416.7(13.3 to 20.6)0.75(0.57 to 0.99)
 3+718, 6276.8(5.1 to 9.0)0.82(0.59 to 1.15)642, 36614.1(11.0 to 17.7)0.62(0.46 to 0.83)
Paid for sex, past year0.4865
 No4774, 58968.2(7.4 to 9.2)1
 Yes64, 755.6(1.8 to 16.4)0.66(0.20 to 2.15)
Ever taken drugs to assist sexual performance0.00220.10550.5305
 No4188, 51807.6(6.7 to 8.6)16478, 562420.6(19.5 to 21.8)1
 Yes636, 77612.1(9.5 to 15.4)1.63(1.19 to 2.23)184, 12425.9(19.2 to 33.9)1.38(0.93 to 2.05)
Relationship status0.03<0.00010.0307
 Living with partner2708, 42668.8(7.7 to 10.1)13967, 416823.4(21.9 to 24.9)1
 In a steady relationship, not living together947, 7606.9(5.3 to 9.0)0.78(0.56 to 1.09)1360, 79015.4(13.4 to 17.7)0.59(0.49 to 0.71)
 Not in a steady relationship, but previously cohabited446, 3888.8(6.2 to 12.2)1.00(0.67 to 1.48)752, 46213.6(11.1 to 16.6)0.51(0.40 to 0.66)
 Not in a steady relationship, never cohabited727, 5514.7(3.3 to 6.8)0.52(0.34 to 0.81)580, 33011.0(8.2 to 14.5)0.39(0.28 to 0.55)
Duration of most recent sexual relationship (years)0.0143<0.00010.0719
 ≤11462, 12605.5(4.3 to 7.1)11597, 99811.2(9.4 to 13.2)1
 Between 1 and 51247, 12279.0(7.3 to 11.0)1.67(1.18 to 2.36)1758, 114818.5(16.5 to 20.7)1.81(1.44 to 2.29)
 Between 5 and 15 1065, 14849.3(7.5 to 11.6)1.68(1.17 to 2.43)1774, 145825.2(23.0 to 27.6)2.81(2.23 to 3.55)
 >15 1004, 19048.8(7.1 to 10.8)1.47(0.97 to 2.22)1445, 203623.8(21.5 to 26.2)2.83(2.13 to 3.75)
Always easy to talk about sex with partners††0<0.00010.4854
 Yes1695, 18994.8(3.8 to 6.0)11746, 145111.4(9.7 to 13.2)1
 No/other3122, 40489.8(8.7 to 11.1)2.15(1.62 to 2.87)4907, 428923.9(22.5 to 25.3)2.43(2.02 to 2.93)
Happy with relationship‡‡<0.0001<0.00010.9717
 Yes1951, 27917.1(5.9 to 8.6)12736, 260118.6(16.9 to 20.4)1
 Other995, 143013.3(11.2 to 15.8)2.01(1.51 to 2.66)1640, 161731.4(28.8 to 34.0)2.00(1.69 to 2.37)
Participant does not share same level of interest in sex as partner0.0311<0.0001
 No/other2270, 32338.5(7.2 to 10.0)13211, 306415.0(13.6 to 16.4)1
 Yes676, 98811.6(9.2 to 14.4)1.41(1.03 to 1.92)1166, 115546.2(42.9 to 49.6)4.91(4.13 to 5.83)
Participant does not share same sexual likes and dislikes as partner0.0975<0.00010.0212
 No/other2650, 38038.9(7.7 to 10.2)14079, 390822.1(20.6 to 23.6)1
 Yes296, 41812.2(8.6 to 17.0)1.43(0.94 to 2.18)297, 31041.9(35.6 to 48.6)2.55(1.93 to 3.37)
Partner experienced sexual difficulties in the past year0.0027<0.00010.6889
 No/other2431, 34548.3(7.2 to 9.6)13726, 349822.1(20.6 to 23.7)1
 Yes513, 76313.2(10.2 to 17.0)1.68(1.20 to 2.35)649, 71930.4(26.5 to 34.6)1.58(1.27 to 1.95)
Does not feel emotionally close to partner when having sex0.0225<0.00010.8228
 No/other2904, 41659.1(7.9 to 10.3)14263, 410822.9(21.5 to 24.4)1
 Yes42, 5621.0(10.2 to 38.3)2.69(1.15 to 6.29)112, 10947.0(36.4 to 57.8)2.98(1.92 to 4.63)
Lifestyle
1+child(ren) aged<5 in household0.10470.00040.0042
 No, none4100, 50158.6(7.6 to 9.6)14997, 467120.2(18.9 to 21.5)1
 Yes, 1+727, 9416.3(4.6 to 8.5)0.75(0.52 to 1.06)1664, 107423.5(21.2 to 25.9)1.34(1.14 to 1.58)
Pregnant in the last year0.5927
 No4227, 412221.8(20.4 to 23.4)1
 Yes437, 27320.7(16.6 to 25.6)0.92(0.69 to 1.24)
Used hormonal contraceptive, past year0.1141
 No3759, 383820.7(19.2 to 22.3)1
 Yes2806, 183120.9(19.1 to 22.7)1.14(0.97 to 1.35)
Sexual health indicators
Ever diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection<0.00010.00020.0291
 No (or only thrush)4148, 51287.3(6.5 to 8.3)15455, 486120.0(18.7 to 21.3)1
 Yes (excluding thrush)677, 83013.7(11.0 to 17.0)2.02(1.51 to 2.70)1206, 88825.1(22.3 to 28.1)1.39(1.16 to 1.65)
Ever experienced non-volitional sex<0.0001<0.00010.1143
 No4706, 58257.9(7.1 to 8.9)15815, 505519.4(18.2 to 20.7)1
 Yes/don't know133, 14819.4(13.1 to 27.7)2.83(1.74 to 4.59)848, 69530.9(27.3 to 34.6)1.86(1.55 to 2.25)
Sexual competence at first sex§§0.4876<0.00010.0787
 Not competent2408, 30398.7(7.5 to 10.0)13438, 292723.6(21.9 to 25.3)1
 Competent2302, 27847.8(6.6 to 9.2)0.91(0.71 to 1.18)3097, 271617.7(16.1 to 19.3)0.70(0.61 to 0.81)
Number of other sexual response problems experienced¶¶<0.0001<0.00010.0262
 03209, 39475.3(4.4 to 6.3)14377, 375912.9(11.7 to 14.1)1
 11061, 13506.1(4.7 to 7.8)1.14(0.81 to 1.59)1217, 108721.7(19.0 to 24.6)1.86(1.53 to 2.26)
 2+570, 67829.7(25.4 to 34.4)7.57(5.68 to 10.10)1075, 90952.4(48.9 to 56.0)7.48(6.25 to 8.94)
Attitudes
People are under pressure to have sex0.1437<0.00010.2192
 Else1799, 22647.4(6.0 to 9.0)11851, 157016.4(14.5 to 18.5)1
 Strongly agree/agree3038, 37078.7(7.6 to 9.9)1.21(0.94 to 1.57)4817, 418522.4(21.0 to 23.9)1.47(1.24 to 1.74)
People want less sex as they age0.0005<0.00010.8045
 Else2943, 34726.7(5.7 to 7.8)14044, 327817.1(15.8 to 18.6)1
 Strongly agree/agree1894, 249910.3(8.8 to 12.1)1.58(1.22 to 2.04)2624, 247725.6(23.7 to 27.6)1.64(1.43 to 1.90)
Men have a naturally higher sex drive than women<0.0001<0.0001
 Else2788, 344110.2(8.9 to 11.5)13351, 283015.9(14.4 to 17.4)1
 Strongly agree/agree2049, 25305.5(4.4 to 6.9)0.52(0.39 to 0.68)3317, 292525.5(23.8 to 27.4)1.81(1.56 to 2.09)
Too much sex in the media0.34770.06930.8856
 Else1986, 22967.5(6.3 to 9.0)12091, 161818.8(16.8 to 20.9)1
 Strongly agree/agree2851, 36758.6(7.5 to 9.9)1.13(0.88 to 1.46)4577, 413721.6(20.2 to 23.0)1.16(0.99 to 1.36)
  • Denominator is those aged 16–74 years with at least one partner in the past year.

  • *p Value for interaction to determine whether the magnitude of association between each variable and lack of interest in sex differs between men and women.

  • †Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is a multidimensional measure of area (neighbourhood)-level deprivation based on the participant's postcode. IMD scores for England, Scotland and Wales were adjusted before being combined and assigned to quintiles, using a method by Payne and Abel.50

  • ‡Participants aged≥17 years.

  • §Includes arthritis, heart attack, coronary heart disease, angina, other forms of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, broken hip or pelvis, bone or hip replacement ever, backache lasting >3 months, any other muscle or bone disease lasting >3 months, depression, cancer and any thyroid condition treated in the past year.

  • ¶Participants were asked whether they had often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless in the past two weeks and whether they had often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things in the past two weeks, using a validated two-question patient health questionnaire (PHQ-2).

  • **Opposite and/or same-sex partners.

  • ††Other means easy with a husband or wife or regular partner, but difficult with a new partner; easy with a new partner, but difficult with a husband or wife or regular partner; difficult with any partner; it depends, sometimes easy and sometimes difficult.

  • ‡‡Participants were asked to rate how happy they were in their relationship from 1 (very happy) to 7 (very unhappy); responses of 1 or 2 were regarded as denoting participants who were happy with their relationship.

  • §§A constructed variable to measure readiness, combining consensuality, autonomy of decision-making, timing and use of effective contraception.

  • ¶¶Sexual response problems (for at least 3 months in the past year): lacked enjoyment in sex, felt anxious during sex, felt physical pain as a result of sex, felt no excitement or arousal during sex, difficulty in reaching climax, reached a climax more quickly than you would like, trouble getting or keep an erection (men), uncomfortably dry vagina (women).

  • Unwt, unweighted; wt, weighted.