Reduce Compulsive Sexual Behavior with Mindfulness

Reduce Compulsive Sexual Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

ve Sexual Behavior with Mindfulnessfeeling ashamed of one’s sexual desires, interests, fetishes, and so on, only makes one feel more obsessive and compulsive about them, rather than the opposite. . .. Mindfulness practice helps my clients to observe their reactions to themselves in accepting and non-judgmental ways. Also, they learn to catch and become aware of the negative thoughts and emotions that arise that make them feel compelled to act out.” – Michael Aaron

 

Sexual behavior is a very important aspect of human behavior, especially for reproduction. In fact, Sigmund Freud made it a centerpiece of his psychodynamic theory. At its best, it is the glue that holds families and relationships together. But, it is a common source of dysfunction and psychosocial problems. Compulsive sexual behavior “encompasses problems with preoccupation with thoughts surrounding sexual behavior, loss of control over sexual behavior, disturbances in relationships due to sexual behavior, and disturbances in affect (e.g., shame) due to sexual behavior.” It is also called sex addiction and hypersexuality. It is chronic and remarkably common affecting 3% to 17% of the population. In addition, it is associated with substance abuse in around half of people with compulsive sexual behavior.

 

Compulsive sexual behavior is frequently treated with psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral, Therapy, or drugs with mixed success. Since, it is also looked at as an addiction and mindfulness treatment has been found to be effective for both sexual dysfunction and for addictions, mindfulness may be affective for individuals with both substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior. As a first step in evaluation this possibility, the relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior needs to be investigated in these individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “The relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a sample of men in treatment for substance use disorders.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996480/, Shorey and colleagues recruited men in a residential treatment center for substance abuse. Upon admission to the facility and after withdrawal from drugs the men completed a battery of tests including measures of mindfulness, alcohol use, drug use, and compulsive sexual behavior, including preoccupation, loss of control, relationship disturbance, and affect (emotional) disturbance.

 

They found that the higher the level of mindfulness that the men had the lower the levels of drug use, alcohol use, and compulsive sexual behavior, including preoccupation, loss of control, relationship disturbance, and affect disturbance. These relationships with compulsive sexual behavior remained significant and negative even when drug and alcohol use were factored in. In contrast, drug use was not related to compulsive sexual behavior, except for a positive relationship with relationship disturbance. So, although there’s high comorbidity between substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior, they don’t appear to be highly related.

 

These are encouraging results that suggest that mindfulness may be an antidote for compulsive sexual behavior in patients with substance abuse. These results, however, are correlative and so causation cannot be concluded and are only applicable to men. The next step, of course, will be to form a randomized clinical trial of the effects of mindfulness training on compulsive sexual behavior in patients with substance abuse in both men and women to establish the efficacy of mindfulness training as a treatment. It is possible that mindfulness training will be effective for the treatment of both substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior in both genders.

 

So, reduce compulsive sexual behavior with mindfulness.

 

“findings tentatively support the usefulness of mindfulness in the effective treatment of sex addiction. In addition to helping bring about a reduction in dysfunctional sex-related actions, fantasies and thoughts, mindfulness training may help affected individuals gain improved emotional control, an increased ability to handle stressful situations and improved resistance to any potentially damaging sex-related urges that arise.” – The Ranch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Shorey, R. C., Elmquist, J., Gawrysiak, M. J., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2016). The relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a sample of men in treatment for substance use disorders. Mindfulness, 7(4), 866–873. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0525-9

 

Abstract

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a serious worldwide problem. Despite years of research on the treatment of SUDs, relapse remains high. One factor that may complicate SUDs treatment for some patients is compulsive sexual behavior. Factors that are related to both SUDs and compulsive sexual behavior could be targeted in SUDs treatment. In the current study, we examined dispositional mindfulness, a protective factor for a range of mental health problems, and its relationship to compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs treatment sample. This is the first study to examine this relationship in a SUDs sample. Medical records from men in residential SUDs treatment were reviewed for the current study (N = 271). Upon admission to treatment, men completed self-report measures on alcohol and drug use, dispositional mindfulness, and compulsive sexual behavior. Bivariate correlations demonstrated dispositional mindfulness to be negatively associated with a variety of indicators of compulsive sexual behavior. After controlling for alcohol and drug use and problems in hierarchical regression analyses, which were both associated with compulsive sexual behaviors, dispositional mindfulness remained negatively associated with all of the compulsive sexual behavior indicators. Our results provide the first empirical association between dispositional mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs sample. Although continued research is needed in this area, our findings suggest that it may be beneficial for SUDs treatment to incorporate mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with comorbid compulsive sexual behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996480/

Decrease the Negative Effects of Gender Nonconformity with Mindfulness

Decrease the Negative Effects of Gender Nonconformity with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Humanity’s most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

 

Gender is defined by our genes. If we have two X Chromosomes we’re female. If we have an XY pair, we’re male. But, the role we play, how we act, based upon gender is learned and very much dependent upon societal norms and mores. “Gender nonconformity (also known as gender atypicality) refers to the incongruence between the biological sex assigned at birth and the socially prescribed gender role.” (American Psychological Association (APA) 2012). This nonconformity occurs associated with all forms of gender identity and sexual orientations.

 

There is always a price that individuals must pay anytime that they violate societal norms. The stigma, stress, and emotionality produced by violating the norms can impact the mental and physical health of the individual. On the other hand, mindfulness has been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological effects of stress, improve the ability to cope with emotions, and improve self-compassion. Thus, there is a need to better understand the effects of mindfulness and self-compassion on the well-being of individuals who are gender nonconformists.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trait Mindfulness and Self-Compassion as Moderators of the Association Between Gender Nonconformity and Psychological Health.” (See summary below). Keng and colleagues recruited a varied adult sample of over 200 individuals with all forms of gender identity and sexual orientations. They were asked to complete measures of sexual orientation, gender nonconformity, anxiety, depression, subjective well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion. About 2/3rds of the participants were heterosexual while 21% were gay or lesbian, 5% bisexual, and 6% other orientations.

 

They found that the higher the levels of gender nonconformity the higher the levels of depression and the lower the levels of subjective well-being. Mindfulness was also an important factor with the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and the higher the levels of self-compassion and subjective well-being.

 

Although mindfulness was only slightly negatively related to gender nonconformity it had significant moderating influences on the effects of gender nonconformity. People high in mindfulness did not have an association between gender nonconformity and either depression, anxiety, or subjective well-being whereas when the people were low in mindfulness high gender nonconformity was associated with high depression and anxiety and low subjective well-being. They also found that when people were high in self-compassion there was not an association between gender nonconformity and subjective well-being, whereas when the people were low in mindfulness high gender nonconformity was associated with low subjective well-being.

 

The results are the product of correlations and thus cannot be used to determine causal connections. But, the results clearly demonstrate that gender nonconformity is associated with psychological and well-being problems. On the other hand, mindfulness is an antidote, being associated with lower psychological and well-being problems. In addition, mindfulness appears to buffer the individual from the negative psychological influences of gender nonconformity. Hence mindfulness appears to be a promoter of well-being and a protector against gender nonconformity degrading well-being.

 

It will be important in future research to investigate if mindfulness training in people high in gender nonconformity can reduce its negative effects. This may be important in helping people whose gender identity and sexual orientation are contrary to the existing societal mores, improving their psychological health and well-being.

 

So, decrease the negative effects of gender nonconformity with mindfulness.

 

“Improved affect in women was related to improved mindfulness and self-compassion skills, which involved specific subscales for approaching experience and emotions with non-reactivity, being less self-critical and more kind with themselves, and over-identifying less with emotions,” – Willoughby Britton

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Keng, SL. & Liew, K.W.L. Trait Mindfulness and Self-Compassion as Moderators of the Association Between Gender Nonconformity and Psychological Health. Mindfulness (2017) 8: 615. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0639-0

 

Abstract

Much research has established a negative association between gender nonconformity and psychological health. Less is known however regarding factors that may attenuate the link between gender nonconformity and psychological health. The present study aimed to investigate the association between gender nonconformity and psychological health in a Singaporean sample, and to examine trait mindfulness and self-compassion as potential moderators of the association. A community sample of 206 adults was recruited and completed an online survey anonymously. The survey included measures of gender nonconformity, sexual orientation, trait mindfulness, self-compassion, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being. Results showed that gender nonconformity positively and significantly predicted depressive symptoms, and negatively predicted subjective well-being. Trait mindfulness moderated the association between gender nonconformity and depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being respectively, with the direction of the moderation effects indicating the role of trait mindfulness as a protective factor against psychological distress. Self-compassion moderated the relationship between gender nonconformity and subjective well-being. Specifically, the association between gender nonconformity and subjective well-being was positive at high levels of self-compassion, and negative at low levels of self-compassion. While cross-sectional in nature, the findings provide preliminary support for the role of trait mindfulness and self-compassion as potential buffers against negative psychological effects of gender nonconformity.

Improve Sexual Function with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A key factor in having better sex is actually being there when you’re having it. Being there not just physically — being fully present, in thought, word and deed. it’s about really showing up and tuning in, to the moment, yourself and your partner.” –  Marsha Lucas

 

Problems with sex are very common, but, with the exception of male erectile dysfunction, driven by the pharmaceutical industry, it is rarely discussed and there is little research. The Puritanical attitudes toward sex in the U.S., in particular, produce inhibitions toward overt explorations of the issues surrounding sex. But, these problems have a major impact on people’s lives and deserve far more attention. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. It is amazing that such an important human behavior is can be problematic for so many people without an outcry for more study and research.

 

Problems with sex with women can involve reduced sex drive, difficulty becoming aroused, vaginal dryness, lack of orgasm and decreased sexual satisfaction. Sexual function in women involves many different systems in the body, including physical, psychological and hormonal factors. So, although, female sexual dysfunction is often caused by physical/medical problems, it is also frequently due to psychological issues. This implies that it many cases may be treated with activities that are effective in working with psychological problems. Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulationstress responsestraumafear and worryanxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. So, perhaps mindfulness training could help resolve psychological issues that might be affecting sexual behavior. Hence, it would make sense to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training as a treatment for female sexual dysfunction.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Pilot Study of Eight-Session Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Adapted for Women’s Sexual Interest/ Arousal Disorder.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1396097427080846/?type=3&theater

or see summary below. Paterson, Handy, and Brotto recruited women who were diagnosed with Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD) and provided for them an 8-week program of group Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy adapted for sexual issues (MBCT-S). This program included mindfulness training, cognitive therapy, and sex therapy. Before and after treatment they were assessed for sexual interest, sex-related distress, overall sexual function, mindfulness, self-compassion, interoceptive awareness, depression, rumination, anxiety, and treatment expectations. They found that following treatment the women had significant improvements in overall sexual function (26%), sexual desire (60%), sex-related distress (20%). There were also significant improvements in mindfulness, interoceptive awareness, depression, rumination, and anxiety. In addition, they found that the improvement in overall sexual function was due, in part, to the treatment producing increased mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased depression. So, MBCT-S improved the psychological and sexual health of the women.

 

These are interesting and potentially important preliminary findings. This was a small trial without a control condition, so conclusions need to be tempered with the understanding that the significant differences between before and after treatment may be due to experimental contamination including placebo effects. In addition, it cannot be determined if the effects may have been produced by any kind of therapy and not necessarily MBCT-S. Indeed, before the therapy commenced that participants expressed moderate expectations of treatment success, suggesting significant subject expectancy effects that could make any program appear successful. But, regardless, the outcomes were compelling enough to justify performing a large randomized controlled trial.

 

Nevertheless, the results may indicate that mindfulness based therapy tailored for sexual dysfunction may be a safe and effective means to treat Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD). Sex is very important in relationships and, to some extent, bonding and holding partners together. It can also be very important for the individual’s mental and physical well-being and feelings of self-worth. So, addressing sexual issues is important for the health of the individual and the family and these results suggest that MBCT-S may be a safe and effective treatment.

 

So, improve sexual function with mindfulness.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

“Sexual health is an integral component of quality of life and sexual dysfunction impacts mood, well-being, relationship satisfaction, and many domains of quality of life. Improvements in sexual functioning can positively impact each of these domains.” – Lori Brotto

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Laurel Q. P. Paterson, Ariel B. Handy & Lori A. Brotto (2016): A Pilot Study of Eight-Session Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Adapted for Women’s Sexual Interest/ Arousal Disorder, The Journal of Sex Research, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1208800

 

Abstract

While few treatment options exist for low sexual desire and arousal, the most common sexual dysfunction in women, a growing body of research supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based approaches. The mechanisms underlying improvements, and whether they are due to mindfulness practice or other treatment components, are unclear. As a result, we designed and pilot-tested an eight-session group mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for sexuality (MBCT-S) program that includes more extensive practice of mindfulness skills and closely aligns with the evidence-based MBCT program for depression and anxiety. A total of 26 women (mean age 43.9, range 25 to 63) with a diagnosis of sexual interest/arousal disorder participated in eight weekly group sessions, before and after which they completed validated questionnaires. The majority of women attended all sessions and completed the recommended at-home mindfulness exercises. Compared to baseline, women reported significant improvements in sexual desire, overall sexual function, and sex-related distress, regardless of treatment expectations, relationship duration, or low desire duration. Depressed mood and mindfulness also significantly improved and mediated increases in sexual function. These pilot data suggest that eight-session MBCT-S is feasible and significantly improves sexual function, and provide the basis for a larger randomized-controlled trial (RCT) with a longer follow-up period.

 

Mindful Motherhood

Mindful Motherhood

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“There could not be a better time to learn mindfulness than during pregnancy and early motherhood. For one thing, this is a time when most people have a strong motivation to become the best person they can be in a relatively short period of time. When you realize the full enormity of the responsibility you have taken on by becoming a mom, the primary source of care for another whole human being, not to mention one that you love more than you thought you could ever love, there is a really high level of motivation to try your best to get yourself into the best mental and emotional shape possible.”Cassandra Vieten

 

Mothers’ Day was basically invented and promoted by the greeting card and florist industries. But, even though its origins were crass, the idea took off, because it hit upon a truth; that we all love our mothers. As a result, Mothers’ Day has become a culturally accepted and encouraged time for the celebration of motherhood and all that it means. The deep bonds and love that virtually everyone feels for their mothers and their mothers for them fuels the celebration of the holiday.

 

Motherhood is ubiquitous. Everyone has a mother, who in turn, has had a mother, who has had a mother, etc. Many are, or want to be mothers. It plays an immensely important role in our individual and societal existence. The bond that develops between mother and child is a beautiful, virtually unbreakable, thing, perhaps the strongest bond between individuals that exists. It is essential for ensuring the nurturance that is mandatory for the life of the virtually helpless infant and the development of the child. The effectiveness, or lack thereof, of mothering has a major impact on the offspring that continue throughout their lives. It is such an important role that it seems reasonable to explore what goes into successful mothering and child rearing and what might be of assistance in improving mothering. There has accumulated a tremendous amount of scientific evidence that mindfulness, (“awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally”) can be an important asset for mothers, from conception, to pregnancy, birth, nurturing the infant, and childrearing and the mindfulness of the child can be an important asset for its development. So, on this day celebrating motherhood, we’ll explore the role of mindfulness.

 

Mothering does not occur in a vacuum. It’s been said that “It takes a village” to rear a child. Indeed, motherhood is embedded in a community. There are many people who are either directly or indirectly involved, from the father, to the extended family, the community, the medical profession, teachers, clergy, social workers, childcare workers, and even the government. So relationships become an essential part of mothering from conception, to birth, and family and social life. Mindfulness has been found to be important to becoming a mother in the first place. Mindfulness makes the individual more attractive to the opposite sex, it improves sexual relationships, it helps to relieve infertility, and it improves relationships in general. All of which underscores the importance of mindfulness in improving the likelihood that conception will occur and that childbirth will be born into a supportive social context.

 

Mindfulness continues to be helpful during pregnancy. It can help to relieve the anxiety and depression that commonly accompany pregnancy and even appears to benefit the neurocognitive development of the infant. After birth mindfulness continues to be of assistance as it improves caregiving and parenting, even in the case where the child has developmental disabilities. Mindfulness not only helps the parents deal with the stresses of childrearing, but developing mindfulness in the child can be of great assistance to helping the kids develop emotionally and cognitively, develop high level thinking, develop healthy self-concepts, develop socially, deal with stress, and cope with trauma and childhood depression. It even improves the child’s psychosocial development and academic performance and grades in school. In addition, it seems to be able to assist children through the troubled times of adolescence.

 

It should be clear that mindfulness is an important component of motherhood. Why would this be so? There are a number of reasons that mindfulness helps. It reduces the psychological and physical effects of stress on the mother and let’s face it, pregnancy, birth, caring for infants and raising children can be quite stressful. Mindfulness also improves emotion regulation making the mother better able to be in touch with her emotions yet react to them adaptively and effectively. Mindfulness helps the mother maintain her health and well-being, and to recover quicker should she become ill. After all, mothers can’t take sick leave or take vacations.

 

The essential capacity developed in mindfulness training is paying much greater attention to what’s occurring in the present moment. This can be of immense help to the mother. It makes her better attuned to her child’s and to her own needs. It reduces rumination and recriminations about past mistakes. It tends to diminish the worry and anxiety about the future. It helps her to focus on what needs to be done now, making her much more effective. And it helps her to experience the joys of motherhood to their fullest. In general, by focusing on now, she is tuned into the only time that matters for herself or her child, improving her relationship with reality, dealing with its problems and relishing its wonders.

 

Hence, mindfulness can make mothering better, both for the mother, and the child. So, on this important day of celebration of mothers, let’s adopt mindfulness and make it a part of our relationship with our mothers and our children. We may all love our mothers but we love mindful mothers even more especially when we ourselves are mindful.

 

“For me, the program gave me the freedom to be the kind of mom I wanted to be, instead of just reacting automatically. I still have difficult moments, and can get stressed out, but the mindfulness helps me stay centered and stay connected to myself and my baby.”Cassandra Vieten

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Reduce Difficulties with Sex with Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Orgasm is the involvement of the total body: mind, body, soul, all together. You vibrate, your whole being vibrates, from the toes to the head. You are no longer in control; existence has taken possession of you and you don’t know who you are. It is like a madness…it is like meditation…” – Osho

 

Problems with sex are very common, but, with the exception of male erectile dysfunction, driven by the pharmaceutical industry, it is rarely discussed and there is little research. The Puritanical attitudes toward sex in the U.S., in particular, produce inhibitions toward overt explorations of the issues surrounding sex. But, these problems have a major impact on people’s lives and deserve far more attention. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. It is amazing that such an important human behavior is can be problematic for so many people without an outcry for more study and research.

 

Problems with sex with women are labelled Female Sexual Dysfunction. It can involve reduced sex drive, difficulty becoming aroused, vaginal dryness, lack of orgasm and decreased sexual satisfaction. Sexual function in women involves many different systems in the body, including physical, psychological and hormonal factors. So, it is important for physicians to explore women’s sexual issues. But, physicians who deal with women, whether family practitioners or Ob-Gyns, often hesitate to bring up sexual issues with patients. But, talking about sexual matters benefits not only the patient but also the physician. In one study, taking a sexual history yielded information of medical importance in 26% of cases, and affected treatment and follow-up plans in 16%.

 

Although, female sexual dysfunction is often caused by physical/medical problems, it is also frequently due to psychological issues. This implies that it many cases may be treated with activities that are effective in working with psychological problems. Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulation, stress responses, trauma, fear and worry, anxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. So, perhaps mindfulness training could help resolve psychological issues that might be affecting sexual behavior. Hence, it would make sense to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training as a treatment for female sexual dysfunction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Sex Therapy Improves Genital-Subjective Arousal Concordance in Women with Sexual Desire/Arousal Difficulties”

See: https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1204644279559496/?type=3&theater or see below.

Brotto and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Sex Therapy (MBST) on physical and psychological sexual arousal in women who were seeking treatment for sexual desire and/or arousal concerns. MBST is a 4-week program involving a combination of psychoeducation, sex therapy, and training in mindfulness-based skills. Arousal was measured while women were watching either a neutral or an erotic film. Physiological arousal was measured with a vaginal photoplethysmograph which continuously measured vaginal pulse amplitude. Psychological arousal was measured at the same time by subjective report.

 

They found that the relationship between subjective sexual arousal and physiological arousal increased after treatment, but the relationship between physiological sexual arousal and subjective arousal did not. These results indicate that the therapy improved the alignment between how they are feeling subjectively with its physical consequences. Since, mindfulness training is known to improve the awareness of both the mind and body in the present moment, it makes sense that a mindfulness based therapy would increase their alignment.

 

Many women with female sexual dysfunction often complain that they feel disconnected sexually. Hence, better aligning psychological and physical responses to sexual stimuli may be very helpful in treating the problem. This suggests that Mindfulness-Based Sex Therapy may be a useful therapeutic tool to help women struggling with their sexuality.

 

So, reduce difficulties with sex with mindfulness.

 

A key factor in having better sex is actually being there when you’re having it. Being there not just physically — being fully present, in thought, word and deed. . . It isn’t about adding props or toys or costumes — it’s about really showing up and tuning in, to the moment, yourself and your partner.” – Marsha Lucas

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

 

Study Summary

RESEARCH NEWS – Mindfulness-Based Sex Therapy helps align subjective with physical arousal in women with sexual desire and arousal difficulties.

 

Brotto LA, Chivers ML, Millman RD, Albert A. Mindfulness-Based Sex Therapy Improves Genital-Subjective Arousal Concordance in Women with Sexual Desire/Arousal Difficulties. Arch Sex Behav. 2016 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Abstract

There is emerging evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for improving women’s sexual functioning. To date, this literature has been limited to self-reports of sexual response and distress. Sexual arousal concordance-the degree of agreement between self-reported sexual arousal and psychophysiological sexual response-has been of interest due to the speculation that it may be a key component to healthy sexual functioning in women. We examined the effects of mindfulness-based sex therapy on sexual arousal concordance in a sample of women with sexual desire/arousal difficulties (n = 79, M age 40.8 years) who participated in an in-laboratory assessment of sexual arousal using a vaginal photoplethysmograph before and after four sessions of group mindfulness-based sex therapy. Genital-subjective sexual arousal concordance significantly increased from pre-treatment levels, with changes in subjective sexual arousal predicting contemporaneous genital sexual arousal (but not the reverse). These findings have implications for our understanding of the mechanisms by which mindfulness-based sex therapy improves sexual functioning in women, and suggest that such treatment may lead to an integration of physical and subjective arousal processes. Moreover, our findings suggest that future research might consider the adoption of sexual arousal concordance as a relevant endpoint in treatment outcome research of women with sexual desire/arousal concerns.