Open Access Open Badges Research article

Ethnic differences in dissatisfaction with sexual life in patients with type 2 diabetes in a Swedish town

Marina Taloyan1*, Alexandre Wajngot2, Sven-Erik Johansson12, Jonas Tovi2 and Jan Sundquist13

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Primary Health Care Research, Region Skåne, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2 Karolinska Institutet, Center for Family and Community Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, USA

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:536  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-536

Published: 8 September 2010



The first aim of this study was to analyze whether self-reported satisfaction with one's sexual life was associated with ethnicity (Swedish and Assyrian/Syrian) in patients with type 2 diabetes. The second was to study whether the association between satisfaction with one's sexual life and ethnicity remained after controlling for possible confounders such as marital status, HbA1c, medication, and presence of other diseases.


This cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was conducted at four primary health care centers in the Swedish town of Södertälje. A total of 354 persons (173 ethnic Assyrians/Syrians and 181 ethnic Swedes) participated.


The total prevalence of self-reported dissatisfaction with one's sexual life in both groups was 49%. No significant ethnic differences were found in the outcome. In the final model, regardless of ethnicity, the odds ratio (OR) for self-reported dissatisfaction with one's sexual life in those ≥ 70 years old was 2.52 (95% CI 1.33-4.80). Among those living alone or with children, the OR was more than three times higher than for married or cohabiting individuals (OR = 3.10, 95% CI 1.60-6.00). Those with other diseases had an OR 1.89 times (95% CI 1.10-3.40) higher than those without other diseases.


The findings demonstrate that almost half of participants were dissatisfied with their sexual life and highlight the importance of sexual life to people with type 2 diabetes. This factor should not be ignored in clinical evaluations. Moreover, the findings demonstrate that it is possible to include questions on sexual life in investigations of patients with type 2 diabetes and even in other health-related, questionnaire studies, despite the sensitivity of the issue of sexuality.