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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sexual Health in Male and Female Iraq and Afghanistan U. S. War Veterans With and Without PTSD: Findings From the VALOR Cohort.

  • Author(s): Breyer, Benjamin N
  • Fang, Shona C
  • Seal, Karen H
  • Ranganathan, Gayatri
  • Marx, Brian P
  • Keane, Terence M
  • Rosen, Raymond C
  • et al.

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We sought to determine whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was associated with sexual health in returned warzone-deployed veterans from the recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. We studied 1,581 males and females from the Veterans After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry, a gender-balanced U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs registry of health care-seeking veterans with and without PTSD. Approximately one quarter (25.1%) of males (n = 198) and 12.7% of females (n = 101) had a sexual dysfunction diagnosis and/or prescription treatment for sexual dysfunction. Both genders were more likely to have a sexual dysfunction diagnosis and/or prescription treatment if they had PTSD compared with those without PTSD (male: 27.3% vs. 21.1%, p = .054; female: 14.9% vs. 9.4%, p = .022). Among the 1,557 subjects analyzed here, males with PTSD had similar levels of sexual activity compared to those without PTSD (71.2% vs. 75.4%, p = .22), whereas females with PTSD were less likely to be sexually active compared to females without PTSD (58.7% vs. 72.1%, p < .001). Participants with PTSD were also less likely to report sex-life satisfaction (male: 27.6% vs. 46.0%, p < .001; female: 23.0% vs. 45.7%, p < .001) compared with those without PTSD. Although PTSD was not associated with sexual dysfunction after adjusting for confounding factors, it was significantly negatively associated with sex-life satisfaction in female veterans with a prevalence ratio of .71, 95% confidence interval [.57, .90].

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