Background: Sexual desire is one of the domains of sexual function with multiple dimensions, which commonly affects men and women around the world. Classically, its assessment has been applied through self-report tools; however, an issue is related to the evidence level of these questionnaires and their validity. Therefore, a systematic review addressing the available questionnaires is really relevant, since it will be able to show their psychometric properties and evidence levels. Method: A systematic review was carried out in the PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Web of Science databases. The search strategy was developed according to the following research question and combination of descriptors and keywords, including original studies with no limit of publication date and in Portuguese, English, and Spanish. Two reviewers carried out the selection of articles by abstracts and full texts as well as the analysis of the studies independently. The methodological quality of the instruments was evaluated by the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklist. Results: The search resulted in 1203 articles, of which 15 were included in the review. It identified 10 instruments originally developed in the English language. Unsatisfactory results on methodological quality were evidenced in cultural adaptation studies with no description of the steps of the processes and inadequacy of techniques and parameters of adequacy for models. The Principal Component Analysis with Varimax rotation predominated in the studies. Conclusions: The limitation of the techniques applied in the validation process of the reviewed instruments was evident. A limitation was observed in the number of adaptations conducted and contexts to which the instruments were applied, making it impossible to reach a better understanding of the functioning of instruments. In future studies, the use of robust techniques can ensure the quality of the psychometric properties and the accuracy and stability of instruments. A detailed description of procedures and results in validation studies may facilitate the selection and use of instruments in the academic and/or clinical settings. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42018085706.
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© 2018 The Author(s).