Cognitive and Emotional Predictors of Female Sexual Dysfunctions: Preliminary Findings

Department of Education and Psychology, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal.
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (Impact Factor: 1.27). 02/2008; 34(4):325-42. DOI: 10.1080/00926230802096358
Source: PubMed


The influence of cognitive and emotional variables on specific female sexual dysfunctions was investigated. A total of 207 women (160 without sexual problems and 47 with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) diagnosis of sexual dysfunction) answered a set of questionnaires assessing cognitive and emotional variables (cognitive schemas activated in sexual context - Questionnaire of Cognitive Schema Activation in Sexual Context (QCSASC); sexual beliefs - Sexual Dysfunctional Beliefs Questionnaire (SDBQ); automatic thoughts and emotions presented during sexual activity - Sexual Modes Questionnaire (SMQ)); and sexual functioning (Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)). Results indicated that most women with sexual dysfunction activate incompetence schemas when facing unsuccessful sexual situations. Additionally, lack of erotic thoughts and increased attentional focus on failure and disengagement thoughts during sexual activity were also common in the clinical sample. Besides these common factors, results showed that some specific cognitive and emotional factors are associated with different clinical presentations. Sexual conservative beliefs seem to be closely related to hypoactive sexual desire and to a certain extent to arousal difficulties in women. Body image beliefs and automatic thoughts focusing on self-body appearance seem to be strongly associated with orgasmic disorder. Regarding emotions, fear was one of the best predictors of vaginismus, whereas sadness, disillusion, guilt, and lack of pleasure and satisfaction were closely associated to hypoactive sexual desire. Overall, these findings may contribute to the discussion regarding the treatment strategies used for the different female sexual dysfunctions.

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    • "Moreover, women with sexual problems activated significantly more cognitive schemas of Difference/loneliness, Incompetence, and Undesirability/ rejection, compared with sexually healthy controls. These findings were also in line with previous data (Nobre and Pinto-Gouveia 2008, 2009b; Oliveira and Nobre 2013). Among women, sexual orientation also presented a significant main effect, indicating that lesbian women activated significantly more cognitive schemas of Difference/ loneliness, Helpless, and Undesirability/rejection schemas, Table 3 Cognitive schemas activated in sexual context as a function of group, sexual orientation, and group 9 sexual orientation for male sample (N = 148) "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of cognitive schemas on sexual functioning has been studied in samples of heterosexual men and women. However, there are no published studies on the impact of cognitive schemas on sexual functioning in gay men or lesbian women. The current study analyzed the differences in cognitive schemas associated with negative sexual events in a sample of heterosexual and homosexual men and women, with and without sexual problems. A total of 168 women and 148 men completed a web-survey. Participants answered questions about self-perceived sexual problems, and completed the Questionnaire of Cognitive Schemas Activated in Sexual Context (QCSASC). Results for men and women were analyzed in separate MANOVAs (sexual problems x sexual orientation). Men with sexual problems scored significantly higher in negative cognitive schemas when facing an adverse sexual episode compared with sexually healthy men, regardless of sexual orientation. Women with sexual problems also scored significantly higher in Undesirability/rejection, Incompetence, and Difference/loneliness schemas when compared women without sexual problems, regardless of sexual orientation. Also, sexual orientation was also found to have a significant effect among women, with lesbian women activating significantly more Undesirability/rejection, Difference/loneliness, and Helpless schemas, than heterosexual women. Overall, findings suggest that, despite some specific patterns particularly in lesbian women, the role of cognitive schemas on sexual functioning is very similar in heterosexual and homosexual men and women. These results highlight the core role of cognitive factors on sexual problems in gay men and lesbian women.
    Cognitive Therapy and Research 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10608-014-9661-5 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The differences on sexual beliefs presented by men and women with sexual dysfunction and their sexually functional counterparts were investigated. A total of 488 participants (160 females and 232 males without sexual problems and 47 females and 49 males with a DSM-IV diagnosis of sexual dysfunction) answered the Sexual Dysfunctional Beliefs Questionnaire. Findings showed that, although effects have only reached statistical significance for the female group, both dysfunctional men and women endorsed more sexual dysfunctional beliefs than functional. Women presented significantly more age related beliefs (after menopause women loose their sexual desire, as women age, the pleasure they get from sex decreases) and body image beliefs (women who are not physically attractive cannot be sexually satisfied). Additionally, sexually dysfunctional males presented higher scores (not statistically significant) on 'macho' belief (a real man has sexual intercourse very often) and the beliefs about women satisfaction (the quality of the erection is what most satisfies women). Overall, findings support the idea that sexual beliefs may play a role as vulnerability factors for sexual dysfunction.
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