Abnormal sexuality in Parkinson's disease: fact or fancy?

Roberta Ferrucci, Marta Panzeri, Lucia Ronconi, Gianluca Ardolino, Filippo Cogiamanian, Sergio Barbieri, Paolo Barone, Laura Bertolasi, Alessandro Padovani, Alberto Priori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) variably report sexual dysfunctions. We assessed sexuality in PD by comparing sexual function between a large group of patients with idiopathic PD and a group of subjects without PD. Methods We recruited 121 patients with mild-to-moderate PD (aged 40–80 years) from four Italian Movement Disorder Clinics and 123 non-Parkinsonian controls (NPC) (aged 40–80 years). Sexual function was assessed with four scales: the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning (BISF-M for men; BISF-W for women), the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Both groups also underwent assessment with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), and patients were assessed with the Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-8 (PDQ-8). Results No differences in total score were found between PD and NPC for any sexual function scale (BISF-M, BISF-W, IIEF, FSFI: p > 0.05). However, the Orgasm/Pleasure Domain (BISF, D5) was significantly lower in male patients than in controls. Conclusion Our findings fail to confirm previous findings that PD is associated with a significant sexual impairment. NPC and patients with PD have comparable sexual function in both sexes. Thus, rather than dismissing sexual dysfunction as a normal parkinsonian symptom, physicians should refer patients to sexual medicine specialists who can investigate and discuss problems fully, diagnose possible comorbidities, and suggest appropriate treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2016


  • BISF
  • FSFI
  • IIEF
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Sexual function
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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