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Mindfulness in sex therapy: a comprehensive review

Villena, A1; Gimeno, E1; Blazquez, M2; Zavala, L1; García, E1; Ilarraza, F1; Chiclana, C1

1: Consulta Dr. Carlos Chiclana, Spain; 2: Consulta Dr. Carlos Chiclana,Spain

Objective: The aim of this study is to provide an exhaustive exploration of the possible benefits that Mindfulness practices have in clients with sexual difficulties.

Material and Method: We have carried out a bibliographic review through Ebsco (which includes Pubmed, Psycinfo and Google Scholar). We used the key words “Mindfulness AND (Sexual Difficulties OR Sexuality OR Sexual Dysfunctions OR Sexual Problems OR Hypersexuality)”.

Results: We found 75 articles from 2007 to 2017 about the efficacy and utility of mindfulness practice in the treatment of sexual problems. We finally selected 57 to elaborate this work. 27 of them were empirical researches with real patients experiencing different sexual pathologies, 29 were bibliographic reviews and there was 1 meta-analysis.

ConclusionsThere are different interventions based on Mindfulness used in sex therapy: 1) First Generation Mindfulness interventions (i.e.: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or Mindfulness-Bases Cognitive Therapy Intervention). 2) Second Generation Mindfulness Interventions (i.e.: Mindfulness Awareness Training). In our review, all of these interventions proved to be useful in: reducing sexual difficulties as sexual stress and pain; improving sexual desire, excitation, lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction. As well, Mindfulness interventions are useful in patients suffering hypersexual disorder.

Others studies have found that Mindfulness practices can provide better self-body consciousness, better attention to sexual sensations, and improve pleasant sexual sensations. Finally, training in Mindfulness has shown to reduce other associated symptoms as sexual shame, negative cognitive distortions, depression, anxiety. Some medical pathologies which derive in genital problems of desire and pain can also be reduced by the practice of mindfulness, specially in women arousal disorder with gynecological cancer.

In the light of the results, there is evidence that mindfulness can be a choice of treatment for different sexual pathologies. Therefore, based on the research we have reviewed, Mindfulness can be recommended as a useful tool for sexual treatments. It is necessary to continue with this line of research in order to create specific programs aligned to the needs of each sexual dysfunction.


Work supported by industry: no.

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