Mindfulness-based therapy has shown promise as a treatment for female sexual dysfunction and has the potential to be an efficacious treatment for male sexual dysfunction. However, there has been little empirical evidence regarding the mechanisms through which mindfulness may improve sexual experiences, especially for men. Recent theoretical reviews have suggested potential mediators that may explain the beneficial effects of mindfulness on symptoms of male sexual dysfunction, including reduced avoidance of sex, reduced distraction during sex, and/or reduced activation of negative sexual schemas. We attempted an initial statistical test of these factors as potential mediators of the association between trait mindfulness and multiple sexual outcomes (sexual function, sexual satisfaction, and sexual distress) using a cross-sectional correlational design. A total of 163 men with self-reported current impairments in one or more aspects of sexual function completed self-report scales using a secure online survey. Bivariate correlations indicated that mindfulness was significantly associated with sexual satisfaction, sexual distress, and premature ejaculation, but not other aspects of sexual function. Sexual avoidance statistically mediated the link between mindfulness and sexual satisfaction, both distraction and activation of negative schemas statistically mediated the link between mindfulness and premature ejaculation, and all three factors statistically mediated the link between mindfulness and sexual distress. These results generally supported previous theoretical work and have implications for future treatment outcome research.
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This research was supported by funding from the iHuman Science Initiative at Willamette University. The authors would like to thank Lina Truong, Jonathan Kerth, Alison Whitby, Lyndsey Shimazu, Lev El-Askari, Izzabella Green, Whitney Widrig, Camryn Pickworth, Mackenzie Stueve, and Ross Enlow for their help with data collection and coding.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report that would influence the conduct or outcomes of the study.
This study complied with all APA ethical guidelines and was approved by the IRB at Willamette University.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.
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Stephenson, K.R., Welch, J.P. Statistical Mediators of the Association Between Mindfulness and Sexual Experiences in Men with Impaired Sexual Function. Arch Sex Behav 49, 1545–1557 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01467-2
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sexual well-being