In a recent study of 247 US veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost 18% screened positive for sexual functioning difficulties. Self-reported sexual dysfunction was most strongly linked with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and female sex.
Additional research should examine the causes of specific sexual health concerns in returning veterans, which might relate to dysfunction due to injury or events prior to, during, or following military service.
"Sexual dysfunction is as prevalent as other conditions we think of as being related to military service, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury," said Dr. Drew Helmer, co-author of the Sexual Medicine study. "Recent combat veterans are often at a stage of life when sexual health is critical for establishing and sustaining relationships and starting families. We should make it easy for all veterans to discuss sexual health concerns with their healthcare providers and receive effective care."