Aims The identification and discussion of sexual care needs in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in primary care is currently insufficient. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of sexual dissatisfaction, sexual problems and need for help by using a screening instrument among people with T2DM in primary care. Methods Data were collected in 45 general practices in the Netherlands from January 2015 to February 2016. The Brief Sexual Symptom Checklist (BSSC) was used to screen among 40–75 year old men and women. Results In total, 786 people with T2DM (66.5% men) were screened. The prevalence of sexual dissatisfaction was 36.6%, significantly higher among men than among women (41.1% vs. 27.8%). Sexually dissatisfied men most often reported erectile dysfunction (71.6%); for sexually dissatisfied women, low sexual desire (52.8%) and lubrication problems (45.8%) were most common. More than half of all dissatisfied people had a need for care (61.8%), significantly more men than women (66.8% vs. 47.2%). Conclusions One third of people with T2DM is sexually dissatisfied and more than half of these people report a need for help. The BSSC could be used a tool to proactively identify sexually dissatisfied people in primary care.