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Original Research

Open Access

Gender difference in impact of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual function

  • Hyuk-Dal Jung1
  • Tag Keun Yoo1
  • Jung Yoon Kang1
  • Jun Ho Lee1
  • Jae Duck Choi1,*,

1Department of Urology, Nowon Eulji Medical Center, Eulji University School of Medicine, 01830 Seoul, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.22514/jomh.2023.104 Vol.19,Issue 10,October 2023 pp.103-111

Submitted: 08 June 2023 Accepted: 28 June 2023

Published: 30 October 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Jae Duck Choi E-mail:


There is a paucity of research on the difference between men and women in the impact of mental health on sexual function during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aims to explore sexual function changes and the effects of mental health on sexual function during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data from a self-administered online questionnaire completed by 180 healthy Korean volunteers were analyzed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women tended to be more vulnerable than men in all subscales of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21), except for the stress subscale (p < 0.001). Regarding sexual function, overall sexual function, including both the total International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) score and total Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) score, was lower during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic. All subscales of DASS-21 and total DASS-21 scores were negatively correlated with total IIEF-5 and total FSFI score in men and women, respectively. On a multivariate analysis, the anxiety subscale of DASS-21 was an independent risk factor for decreased total IIEF-5 score in men (p < 0.05). Mental health during the pandemic has negatively influenced sexual function in both sexes. Particularly, anxiety was a significant risk factor for decreased erectile function in men during the pandemic.


COVID-19; Mental health; Sexual function; Korean population; Gender difference; Anxiety

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Hyuk-Dal Jung,Tag Keun Yoo,Jung Yoon Kang,Jun Ho Lee,Jae Duck Choi. Gender difference in impact of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual function. Journal of Men's Health. 2023. 19(10);103-111.


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