INTRODUCTION: The male-predominant sex difference through the spectrum of erosive esophagitis to Barrett's esophagus is widely known. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) stratified by sex for identifying factors that can predict the endoscopically diagnosed erosive esophagitis. METHODS: Erosive esophagitis was diagnosed by endoscopy and assessed for severity. We identified genetic factors associated with erosive esophagitis that accounted for the sex differences in a cohort of 4,242 participants via a GWAS. After quality control and imputation, genetic associations with erosive esophagitis were investigated by multivariate linear regression in 3,620 subjects. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with P < 5.0 × 10 were considered significant genome wide, and a genetic risk score was constructed for the prediction of erosive esophagitis risk. RESULTS: Six genome-wide significant SNPs near the GRIK2 gene on chromosome 6 were found to be associated with erosive esophagitis only in male subjects. These were predictive of severity through a genetic risk score (P < 0.05), and the findings were validated in a cohort of 622 subjects (P < 0.05). DISCUSSION: This is the first GWAS of erosive esophagitis, and we identified 6 genome-wide significant SNPs in male subjects. These SNPs could help explain the pathogenesis of erosive esophagitis and contribute to the understanding of sex differences. Further genetic investigation could allow for the prediction of high risk for erosive esophagitis and development of new treatment options.