, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 527–543 | Cite as

Mindfulness-Based Therapies for Sexual Dysfunction: a Review of Potential Theory-Based Mechanisms of Change

  • Kyle R. Stephenson


A number of recent clinical trials have suggested that mindfulness-based therapy may be an efficacious treatment for sexual dysfunction. However, little is known regarding the mechanisms of action for these treatments or whether these mechanisms are unique to mindfulness-based therapies. Such knowledge would aid in maximizing the impact and dissemination of these interventions. This article provides a review of potential mechanisms utilizing empirically supported theoretical models of sexual dysfunction and mindfulness meditation. These mechanisms include (a) shifting locus/quality of attention during sex, (b) decreasing negative sexual schemas, (c) altering negative expectancies/goals for sex, (d) reducing behavioral/experiential avoidance, (e) lessening engagement with negative sex-related cognitions, and (f) improving the relational context. Current evidence for the importance of each potential mechanism is summarized and recommendations regarding future directions of research are provided.


Sexual dysfunction Mindfulness Mechanisms Mediators 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by the authors.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWillamette UniversitySalemUSA

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