Group mindfulness-based therapy significantly improves sexual desire in women

Behav Res Ther. 2014 Jun;57:43-54. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.04.001. Epub 2014 Apr 18.

Abstract

At least a third of women across reproductive ages experience low sexual desire and impaired arousal. There is increasing evidence that mindfulness, defined as non-judgmental present moment awareness, may improve women's sexual functioning. The goal of this study was to test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy, either immediately or after a 3-month waiting period, in women seeking treatment for low sexual desire and arousal. Women participated in four 90-min group sessions that included mindfulness meditation, cognitive therapy, and education. A total of 117 women were assigned to either the immediate treatment (n = 68, mean age 40.8 yrs) or delayed treatment (n = 49, mean age 42.2 yrs) group, in which women had two pre-treatment baseline assessments followed by treatment. A total of 95 women completed assessments through to the 6-month follow-up period. Compared to the delayed treatment control group, treatment significantly improved sexual desire, sexual arousal, lubrication, sexual satisfaction, and overall sexual functioning. Sex-related distress significantly decreased in both conditions, regardless of treatment, as did orgasmic difficulties and depressive symptoms. Increases in mindfulness and a reduction in depressive symptoms predicted improvements in sexual desire. Mindfulness-based group therapy significantly improved sexual desire and other indices of sexual response, and should be considered in the treatment of women's sexual dysfunction.

Keywords: Group therapy; Low arousal; Low desire; Mindfulness; Sexual dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / complications
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult