Eastern approaches for enhancing women's sexuality: mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga (CME)

J Sex Med. 2008 Dec;5(12):2741-8; quiz 2749. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01071.x.


Introduction: A significant proportion of women report unsatisfying sexual experiences despite no obvious difficulties in the traditional components of sexual response (desire, arousal, and orgasm). Some suggest that nongoal-oriented spiritual elements to sexuality might fill the gap that more contemporary forms of treatment are not addressing.

Aim: Eastern techniques including mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga, are Eastern techniques, which have been applied to women's sexuality. Here, we review the literature on their efficacy.

Methods: Our search revealed two empirical studies of mindfulness, two of acupuncture, and one of yoga in the treatment of sexual dysfunction.

Main outcome measure: Literature review of empirical sources.

Results: Mindfulness significantly improves several aspects of sexual response and reduces sexual distress in women with sexual desire and arousal disorders. In women with provoked vestibulodynia, acupuncture significantly reduces pain and improves quality of life. There is also a case series of acupuncture significantly improving desire among women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Although yoga has only been empirically examined and found to be effective for treating sexual dysfunction (premature ejaculation) in men, numerous historical books cite benefits of yoga for women's sexuality.

Conclusions: The empirical literature supporting Eastern techniques, such as mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga, for women's sexual complaints and loss of satisfaction is sparse but promising. Future research should aim to empirically support Eastern techniques in women's sexuality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Dyspareunia / psychology
  • Dyspareunia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga*