Predictors of sexual and relationship functioning in couples with Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

J Sex Med. 2007 May;4(3):734-744. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00466.x. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Introduction: Both partners in a relationship are typically affected when one experiences sexual dysfunction and/or pain. However, couple functioning has rarely been investigated in Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS), a common condition in men involving pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction.

Aim: To identify potential predictors of sexual and relationship function among couples with CP/CPPS, and to examine associations among pain, sexual, and relationship variables in patients and their women partners.

Methods: Thirty-eight patients with CP/CPPS and their women partners completed questionnaires assessing sexual and relationship function via mail.

Main outcome measures: Patients completed a subscale from the Multidimensional Pain Inventory and the International Index of Erectile Function. Partners completed the Female Sexual Function Index. All participants completed the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale.

Results: Couples' sexual function, sexual satisfaction, and relationship adjustment were all significantly associated. Pain severity significantly predicted sexual and relationship functioning among couples. However, multiple regression models revealed that sexual and relationship variables were the strongest predictors of patient and partner functioning, over and above pain severity. Patient sexual function was predicted by patient sexual satisfaction and female sexual function, whereas female sexual function was predicted by female sexual satisfaction and patient relationship adjustment. With regard to sexual satisfaction, patient sexual function and relationship adjustment and female relationship adjustment predicted patient sexual satisfaction. Female sexual function predicted female sexual satisfaction. Among both patients and partners, relationship adjustment was significantly predicted by that of one's partner. The only partner variable that was significantly predicted by patient pain severity was female sexual function.

Conclusions: Significant links exist among the sexual and relationship functioning of patients with CP/CPPS and their partners. These results emphasize the importance of the interpersonal context on couples' functioning, and highlight the need to adopt a biopsychosocial approach when investigating CP/CPPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Pain / complications
  • Pelvic Pain / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Prostatitis / complications
  • Prostatitis / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syndrome