Fear of sexual intercourse in patients with coronary artery disease: a pilot study of associated morbidity

J Sex Med. 2007 Nov;4(6):1619-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00619.x.


Introduction: Sexual fear is a known cause for avoidance of intercourse, especially in patients with chronic conditions.

Aim: Given the significant impact of fear of intercourse on the quality of life, we herein report our pilot results regarding the differences in the demographic, clinical, marital, and psychological characteristics of coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with and without sexual fear.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study conducted in Baqyiatallah Hospital, Tehran, Iran, in 2006, 87 married CAD patients were assessed for the presence of sexual fear. Subjects with and without sexual fear were compared for demographic and clinical data as well as for Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Revised-Dyadic Adjustment Scale (R-DAS) scores.

Main outcome measure: Demographic and clinical data, sexual fear (Relationship and Sexuality Scale), symptoms of anxiety and depression (HADS), and marital relation quality (R-DAS).

Results: Twenty-nine subjects were reported to have some degrees of fear of sexual intercourse and a lower frequency of sexual intercourse. Age, socioeconomic status, education level, tobacco smoking, and history of myocardial infarction were significantly different between those with and the ones without sexual fear. Body mass index, extent of coronary involvement, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, stroke, hyperlipidemia, history of diabetes, and the use of beta-blockers were not statistically different in the two groups. The subjects with sexual fear reported higher HADS depressive and R-DAS scores but not higher HADS anxiety scores.

Conclusion: Among different nonmodifiable and modifiable correlates of fear of sexual intercourse in CAD patients, marital relationship and depressive symptoms should be highlighted in future interventional studies with the aim of allaying such fears.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires