Sexual satisfaction, an indicator of sexual health and well-being? Insights from STI/HIV prevention research in European men who have sex with men

Karel Blondeel, Massimo Mirandola, Lorenzo Gios, Cinta Folch, Christiana Noestlinger, Maddalena Cordioli, Petra De Sutter, Marleen Temmerman, Igor Toskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction Although sexual health has been holistically defined to include sexual satisfaction, it has been largely absent in health services and sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes in many parts of the world. We propose sexual satisfaction as a useful indicator, as one of the proxy measures for sexual health and well-being and as a component of well-being in general. Methods The Sialon II project is a multicentre biological and behavioural cross-sectional community-based survey implemented across 13 European cities during 2013-2014 among men who have sex with men. Sexual satisfaction was explored using one single item: 'How satisfied are you with your sex life?' A multivariable multilevel logistic random-intercept model was estimated to identify factors associated with reporting positive sexual satisfaction versus negative sexual satisfaction. Results Age, the number of partners and self-reported HIV status were not significantly associated with sexual satisfaction in the multivariate model. Participants reporting an insertive role or reported both an insertive and receptive role during the last anal intercourse were more likely to be sexually satisfied, compared with a receptive role. Participants reporting anal intercourse with a condom were more likely to be satisfied than those declaring no anal intercourse in the last 6 months, but no significant association was found compared with anal intercourse without condom. Knowledge of HIV-serostatus concordance with the last sexual partner was positively correlated with sexual satisfaction. Having had sexual intercourse with non-steady partners only in the last 6 months was negatively correlated. The more positive participants perceived their work/school, parents and friends/acquaintances' attitudes towards gay or bisexual persons, the higher the odds they were satisfied with their sexual life. Conclusion Using a single item on sexual satisfaction in a bio-behavioural study, our analysis has shown that it is associated with individual, interpersonal and social/structural factors and has proven its usefulness as a sexual health indicator among men who have sex with men.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere013285
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2024

Keywords

  • Cross-sectional survey
  • HIV
  • Prevention strategies
  • Public Health

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