Reports of rates of sexual dysfunction in clinical populations vary widely (see Introduction). The main reason for such variation is the range of methods employed to collect the data. Early studies with antidepressants relied on spontaneous self-report by patients and tended to yield relatively low rates: they also failed to distinguish between rates of different forms of sexual dysfunction. Higher rates are obtained when patients are asked to fill in a questionnaire, but even under these conditions people appear reluctant to divulge sexual symptoms. Thus, the highest rates for sexual dysfunction are obtained when patients are asked sympathetically but specifically about different aspects of sexual function.
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