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Yoga and Sexual Functioning: A Review



Yoga is an ancient practice with Eastern roots that involves both physical postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayamas). There is also a cognitive component focusing on meditation and concentration, which aids in achieving the goal of union between the self and the spiritual. Although numerous empirical studies have found a beneficial effect of yoga on different aspects of physical and psychological functioning, claims of yoga's beneficial effects on sexuality derive from a rich but nonempirical literature. The goal of this article is to review the philosophy and forms of yoga, to review the nonempirical and (limited) empirical literatures linking yoga with enhanced sexuality, and to propose some future research avenues focusinging on yoga as a treatment for sexual complaints.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 35:378–390, 2009
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0092-623X print / 1521-0715 online
DOI: 10.1080/00926230903065955
Yoga and Sexual Functioning: A Review
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia
Yoga is an ancient practice with Eastern roots that involves both
physical postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranaya-
mas). There is also a cognitive component focusing on meditation
and concentration, which aids in achieving the goal of union
between the self and the spiritual. Although numerous empirical
studies have found a beneficial effect of yoga on different aspects of
physical and psychological functioning, claims of yoga’s beneficial
effects on sexuality derive from a rich but nonempirical literature.
The goal of this article is to review the philosophy and forms of
yoga, to review the nonempirical and (limited) empirical literatures
linking yoga with enhanced sexuality, and to propose some future
research avenues focusinging on yoga as a treatment for sexual
The psycho-medical approach to treating sexual difficulties has a
relatively short history, but one that is characterized by sharp turns. In the
1980s, a paradigm shift began whereby humanistic and behavioral treatments
of sexual problems fell out of favor, and treatment of sexual difficulties
began to fall into the domain of medicine. This occurred largely because
urologists were interested in the biological basis of sexual difficulties, and
because of the observed benefits of medical interventions in curing erectile
dysfunction (Tiefer, 2006). Despite the enormous popularity and success of
the oral pharmaceutical agents for men’s sexual difficulties, at least one-third
of men do not refill their prescriptions (Klotz, Mathers, Klotz, & Sommer,
2005; Son, Park, Kim, & Paick, 2004), the success of oral pharmaceuticals
can trigger dissatisfaction in a female partner who may have habituated
to a new sexual repertoire that does not focus on intercourse (Askew
& Davey, 2004; Loe, 2004), and these sexual pharmaceuticals have been
largely ineffective for women (e.g., Basson, McInnis, Smith, Hodgson, &
Address correspondence to Lori A. Brotto, Department of Gynaecology, 2775 Laurel Street,
6th Street, Vancouver BC, V5Z 1M9, Canada. E-mail:
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Yoga and Sexual Functioning 379
Koppiker, 2002). In contrast to this very short sexual pharmaceutical history,
Eastern approaches have many millennia of history for conceptualizing
and addressing sexual complaints. Eastern approaches such as tantra, Tao,
mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga have all been implicated in sexual
fulfillment and pleasure (as reviewed in Brotto, Krychman, & Jacobson,
2008), and the efficacy of some of these approaches has been established
in empirical studies (Brotto, Basson, & Luria, 2008; Brotto & Heiman,
2007; Danielsson, Sj¨
oberg, & ¨
Ostman, 2001; Powell & Wojnarowska, 1999).
More recently, yoga has been found effective for improving ejaculatory
control among men with premature ejaculation (Dhikav, Karmarker, Gupta,
& Anand, 2007). The goal of this review is to explore the historical and
empirical literature on the role of yoga in sexual health and discuss future
research worth exploring on yoga for specific sexual complaints. Moreover,
we provide a limited background on yoga theory from an authentic Eastern
perspective, which is essential for linking yoga to enhanced sexuality
A historical note on the origins and philosophies of yoga is essential in
order to place yoga within a theoretical framework for being used for
sexual enhancement. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj
meaning “to yoke, to bind, to attach, to join, to direct and concentrate one’s
attention on, or to use and apply” (Iyengar, 2001, p.1). Yoga is one of
the six systems of Indian philosophy that was systemized by Pata˜
njali with
his text, The Yoga S¯
utras. Here, yoga is described as a sacred science that
involves evolution through eight components, known as the eight limbs
of yoga. The first step is Yama (attitudes towards the environment), and
evolving through to Sam¯
adhi (complete integration with the object to be
understood). The other limbs include: Niyama (attitudes towards the self),
Asana (the practice of body exercises), Pr¯
ama (the practice of breathing
exercises), Praty¯
ara (restraint of the senses), Dh¯
a(the ability to direct
the mind), and Dhy¯
ana (the ability to develop interactions with what one
seeks to understand (Desikachar, 2003). Through these limbs one is given
the tools to connect with the higher being (which can be translated to
whichever belief system one chooses) and therefore be liberated—free of
suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In the Western world, the most discussed of these components are
Asana and Pr¯
Asanas are postures used to exercise the entire
body, whereas pr¯
ama exercises the breath through different patterns
of inhales, exhales, and holds. ¯
Asana and pr¯
ama aid the practitioner in
improving health and controlling the mind; as one gains the ability to control
the body and breath, one develops the capacity to control the mind (Iyengar,
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380 L. A. Brotto et al.
2001). The ¯
asanas and pr¯
amas prepare the individual for meditation;
they give one the ability to focus and concentrate on the present moment,
with the least amount of resistance, in order to reach the goal of liberation
(Satchidananda, 1977, p. 166).
In order to achieve a meditative state, some forms of yoga have mantras,
as, and kriy¯
as, which act to assist one in connecting to the spiritual
to evoke focus, strength, and healing. Mantras are sanskrit words, taught
as sound syllables, which act as sound currents to focus the mind. Through
repetition of these words, silently or aloud, one reconditions the patterns of
the mind, directing the mind’s attention to whichever quality one chooses
to manifest (Kaur Khalsa, 1996, p. 35, p. 308). According to Yogi Bhajan,
mantras create a direct connection to the higher being, similar to prayers,
which allow one to evoke the quality of mind and body in which one
seeks (Kaur Khalsa, 1996, pp. 36–37). Mudr¯
as are subtle physical positions
that may involve the whole body or just the hands, which are used to
focus energy (Satyananda, 1996, pp. 423–424). Kriy¯
as can combine mantra,
a, breath, and postures into a “complete action” which gives individuals
exercises to invoke cleansing, healing, or manifesting different qualities of
mind and body (Kaur Khalsa, 1996, pp. 229–275).
Part of yoga’s long-standing and increasing popularity relate to its effects on
mental health. In yoga, psychological suffering is described as duhkha, which
refers to suffering, troubles, or sickness of the mind. Duhkha is a restrictive
state that prevents action and understanding (Desikachar, 1999, p. 83), and
is thought to arise from avidy¯
a, or “incorrect comprehension” derived from
the conditioned patterns of unconscious action. These ingrained habits and
perceptions (sam
ara) obscure an individual’s concept of reality. Yoga
provides a means to become aware of duhkha and therefore overcome
these obstacles and retain “correct understanding” (Desikachar, 1999, pp.
10, 83–84).
In the Yoga S¯
utras, Pata˜
njali reveals yoga as “chitta vrtti nirodhah,”
which translates as “restraint of mental modifications or as suppression of the
fluctuations of consciousness (Iyengar, 2001, p. 2). Pata˜
njali further explains
the five causes of psychological pain as: ignorance (Avidy¯
a), having a sense
of individuality that limits a person from a group (asmit¯
a), attachment of
passion (r¯
aga), aversion (dvesa), and the instinctive clinging to life and
bodily pleasures, which results in the fear of death (abhinive´
sa) (Iyengar,
2001, p. 5). In other words, much of psychological suffering results from
these conditioned patterns of perceptions, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors,
and yoga can be used as a vehicle to alleviate such pains.
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Yoga and Sexual Functioning 381
There is compelling empirical data showing the benefits of yoga on
psychological well-being and mood (Elavsky & McAuley, 2007; Hadi &
Hadi, 2007; Oken et al., 2004). Meditation plus yoga significantly improved
remission rates in long-term depressed patients compared to hypnosis and
psycho-education control (Butler et al., 2008; Lavey et al., 2005). Moreover,
there is both an acute effect of yoga (from the start to the end of a session)
as well as a chronic benefit (over long-term practice; Shapiro et al., 2007).
The beneficial effects of yoga on mood have been shown both in seniors
(Oken et al., 2006) as well as in young adults (Woolery, Myers, Sternlieb, &
Zeltzer, 2004). Neuroendocrine data show that the improvements in mood
and affect are associated with a decline in cortisol levels (West, Otte, Geher,
Johnson, & Mohr, 2004).
Yoga has also been shown to benefit physical health (Hadi & Hadi, 2007;
Smith, Hancock, Blake-Mortimer, & Eckert, 2007), including improvements
in blood pressure, body mass index, and heart rate (McCaffrey, Ruknui,
Hatthakit, & Kasetsomboon, 2005), improved performance on motor skill
tasks in children (Telles, Hanumanthaiah, Nagarathna, & Nagendra, 1993),
and improved lung capacity similar to athletes (Prakash, Meshram, &
Ramtekkar, 2007).
Yoga theory suggests that physical and psychological illness result
from an inbalanced or blocked chakra system (Bhushan, 1997). Many have
attempted to correlate the chakra system to Western physiology in order to
gain an understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the mind-body-spirit
connection (Roney-Dougal, 2000). It is believed that the chakra system
directly and indirectly affects the endocrine system and nervous system
through energy, known as life force (pr¯
ana; Kaur Khalsa, 1996, p. 53).
Iyengar (2001) explains that, “Yoga is the method by which the restless mind
is calmed and the energy is directed into constructive channels” (p. 2). Thus,
anic energy is directed through the body via yogic breath and posture,
to either maintain or rebalance the chakra system, and therefore heal and
sustain the health of the body and mind.
Given the well-documented health benefits of yoga, it follows that yoga has
been used as a popular nonpharmacological alternative to treat a plethora of
physical and psychosocial anomalies. In a systematic review by Smith and
Pukall (2009), yoga interventions specifically for cancer patients were noted
for eliciting significant improvements on measures of sleep, quality of life,
levels of stress, and mood. As an alternative to Western medicine, yoga has
been shown empirically to treat depression among inpatients (Krishnamurthy
& Telles, 2007; Shapiro et al, 2007), to improve chronic pain, pancreatitis,
and low back pain (Chou, Huffman, American Pain Society, & American
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382 L. A. Brotto et al.
College of Physicians, 2007; Fleming, Rabago, Mundt, & Fleming, 2007;
Sareen, Kumari, Gajebasia, & Gajebasia, 2007; Williams et al., 2005), to
treat cardiovascular disease (Bijlani et al., 2005), diabetes (Sahay, 2007),
irritable bowel syndrome (Kuttner et al., 2006), osteoarthritis (Kolasinski
et al., 2005), migraine (John, Sharma, Sharma, & Kankane, 2007), multiple
sclerosis-associated fatigue (Oken et al., 2004), and menopausal hot flashes
(Cohen et al., 2007).
Given the inextricable link between sexual health, well-being, and physical
health (Laumann et al., 2005; Lindau et al., 2007), it is reasonable that yoga
might also be associated with improvements in sexual health. For example,
yoga moderates attention and breathing (Gupta, Khera, Vempati, Sharma, &
Bijlani, 2006; Telles, Raghurai, Arankalle, & Naveen, 2008), decreases anxiety
and stress (McCaffrey et al., 2005; Michalsen et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2007),
induces a state of relaxation (Krishnamurthy & Telles, 2007; McCaffrey et
al., 2005), and modulates cardiac parasympathetic nervous activity (Khattab,
Khattab, Ortak, Richardt, & Bonnemeier, 2007). All of these effects are
associated with improvements in sexual response. Female practitioners of
yoga have been found to be less likely to objectify their bodies and to be
more aware of their physical selves (Impett, Daubenmier, & Hirschman,
2006). This tendency, in turn, may be associated with increased sexual
responsibility and assertiveness, and perhaps sexual desires. Perhaps more
importantly, however, is the effect of yoga on mindfulness, or the ability
to remain focused and in the present in a nonjudgmental manner. Given
the tendency for distractions to impede on women’s sexual functioning
(Barlow, 1986; Dove & Wiederman, 2000), the increased ability to minimize
distraction and enhance awareness of the body to allow sensorial cues to
be detected and integrated into conscious awareness is a major facet of
why yoga might be helpful for enhancing sexuality. Notwithstanding this
potentially important role of yoga in improving sexual health, most of the
literature on the topic derives from nonempirical sources.
Among the extensive body of nonempirical literature focused on yoga, there
is a vast amount of data linking yoga with improved sexual health, as well
as touting yoga as an effective treatment for nearly every sexual ailment.
Yoga theory proposes that certain diseases pertaining to sexuality
suggest blocked or stagnant energy in the root chakra (mooladhara chakra)
or the second chakra (swadhisthana chakra). One way to release this
energy is to raise or move one’s kundalin¯
ithrough the spine and up to
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Yoga and Sexual Functioning 383
the brain through the n¯
is (channels through which energy passes through
the chakras [Iyengar, 2001, p. 100, p. 368; Kaur Khalsa, 1996, pp. 47–48]).
The term kundalin¯
iliterally means, “the curl of the lock of hair of the
beloved.” This metaphor depicts the flow of energy and consciousness that
exists within all individuals (Kaur Khalsa, 1996, p. 43). In Tantric practices
and Kundalini yoga, yoga is used as a tool to prepare for the movement
of kundalin¯
ienergy. In doing so, one may gain awareness of oneself
and release the energy that may be sustaining the source of blockage or
stagnation. Kundalin¯
ienergy has been said to increase sexual pleasure and
extend the longevity of sex by facilitating male orgasms without ejaculation
(Francoeur, 1992).
Moola bandha is another yogic concept that has tremendous utility
in women’s sexual response by assisting women to learn sexual control
and alleviate sexual problems. Bandhas are a means “to lock” or “to
bind or tie together, to close” certain areas in the torso in order to
intensify the cleansing processes of yoga (Desikachar, 1999, p. 71). The
bandhas are explained to facilitate proper functioning of the endocrine
system. All bandhas indirectly influence the pituitary gland and brain. Moola
bandha is a perineal contraction that stimulates the sensory motor and
the autonomic nervous system in the pelvic region, and therefore enforces
parasympathetic activity in the body. Specifically, moola bandha is thought
to directly innervate the gonads and perineal body/cervix. To a lesser extent,
the sympathetic nervous system is also stimulated (Buddhananda, 2007,
p. 3). In men, practicing moola bandha has been associated with relieving
spermatthorrea, preventing inguinal hernia, and controlling testosterone
secretion. In women, exercising moola bandha has been shown to relieve
dysmenorrhea, ease childbirth pain, lessen symptoms of menopause, and
improve sexual difficulties (Buddhananda, 2007, pp. 33–35). Kraftsow (1999)
clarifies that exercising moola bandha is similar to the kegel exercises
prescribed for women before childbirth and throughout life to reduce urinary
incontinence. He describes how moola bandha stretches the muscles of
the pelvic floor, increases circulation in that area, balances, stimulates,
and rejuvenates the area through techniques that increase awareness and
circulation. As a result, exercises that utilize moola bandha may be helpful
in aiding people who lack sexual vitality and have poor sexual functioning
(p. 288). In numerous sex therapy centers, the practice of moola bandha is
used to enhance women’s awareness of their own genital arousal sensations,
and in this way, may be a helpful adjunct for improving sexual desire and
O’Brien (1994) recommends a yoga pose known as the ‘frog pose’
asana) to strengthen women’s pelvic floor muscles. The author
suggests this exercise for pregnant women preparing for childbirth, but
pelvic floor muscles play an important role in sexual health as well. In
our experience, such poses may be helpful for women with provoked
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384 L. A. Brotto et al.
vestibulodynia and/or vaginismus given the often weakened nature of these
In part of their yogic teaching, Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1996),
founder of the Bihar School of Yoga in Rishikesh, India, and B.K.S. Iyengar
(2001), founder of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI)
in Pune, India, suggest combinations of yogic tools to prevent sexual
problems and maintain overall sexual health. They suggest such techniques
may assist in lessening symptoms of HIV or herpes, aiding/preventing
erectile dysfunction, dealing with spermatorrhea, reducing symptoms of
menstruation and menopause, recovery from miscarriage, and general toning
of reproductive organs. For erectile dysfunction, Satyananda prescribes
asanas, pr¯
ama, Bandha, and Mudr¯
a(pp. 534–535). In his book,
Satyananda warns that individuals suffering from specific sexual ailments
should seek advice from a competent yoga therapist to get a proper yogic
An instructional yoga video by Chheda and Khan (2004) claims that
yoga results in increased blood flow to the genitals, aids menstrual problems,
and increases male and female sexual function overall. The video provides
educational information and also demonstrates a complete yoga routine
designed to facilitate these sexuality-specific effects of yoga. One might
therefore use these techniques in sexual difficulties arising from deficient
genital blood flow (e.g., as in irradiated vaginal tissue of gynecologic cancer
Among introductory yoga books, many mention sexual disorders
and advertise yoga as a means of treatment. Claire (2003) claims that
yoga increases strength, keeps practitioners centered and present through
meditation and breathing, creates relaxation, lowers stress and performance
anxiety, and helps the practitioner to maintain attention in sex. The author
states that it can resolve premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and
orgasm difficulties (Claire, 2003, p. 185). Thomas writes that yoga strengthens
and tones the urogenital area, strengthens pelvic floor muscles, massages
the prostate gland, strengthens genital muscles, increases blood flow in
the genitals, and builds stamina and control, and specific yoga poses are
recommended. Unfortunately, no empirical studies are provided to support
these impressive claims.
For Indian men who practice brahmacharya, or celibacy, certain yoga
poses are thought to control (i.e., reduce) erection and desire (Alter, 1997).
For instance, there is a central pose known as siddh¯
asana in which the
practitioner’s legs are crossed while seated during which a celibate man can
pinch his penis and scrotum with his heels to control his desire. This type of
control is considered a highly desirable state to attain for these men choosing
Popular websites also make claims of yoga’s effects on sexual dysfunc-
tion. For instance, a website called “Health and Yoga Infoplace” contains
an entire section on yoga as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, where a
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Yoga and Sexual Functioning 385
series of yoga poses are described to be an effective treatment for erectile
dysfunction (Nagarathana, 2007). Again, unfortunately, no empirical data are
provided to substantiate these claims. It should also be noted that while
this type of informational website exemplifies how accessible information
on yoga has become, not all experienced practitioners of yoga would agree
that yoga exercises should be recommended to general populations without
the guidance of a yoga therapist.
For women, Ripoll and Mahowald (2002) argue that hatha yoga can
effectively ease the symptoms of chronic pain syndromes such as vulvodynia
because of the positive effect of yoga in strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
Unfortunately, no empirical data are provided.
Despite the abundance of nonempirical data suggesting that yoga and sex
are not only linked but potentially mutually beneficial, very little research
has been conducted to substantiate these claims. Our careful review of the
literature revealed only one controlled study of yoga as a treatment for sexual
Dhikav, Karmarker, Gupta, and Anand (2007) successfully treated
Indian men with premature ejaculation with yoga. Premature ejaculation
traditionally falls into the medical domain and is most often treated
with serotonergic anti-depressants (Waldinger, 2008). The 68 men who
participated in the study were offered a choice between the yoga-based,
nonpharmacological treatment and the more traditional pharmacological
intervention fluoxetine (Prozac). In the yoga group, men were given a
prescribed set of ¯
asanas and pr¯
amas to practice for 1 hour each day.
Differential relaxation techniques, as well as perineal and pubococcygeal
exercises, were included in the program. Notably, there was no component
of sex therapy or sex education to men receiving the yoga intervention.
Remarkably, all 38 men participating in the yoga group had both subjective
and statistically significant improvements in their intraejaculatory latencies.
There were no side effects or dropouts in this treatment arm. These data
provide an excellent example of the potential usefulness of yoga as a
nonpharmacological treatment for sexual disorders, and in a compelling
way, suggest that yoga can be as effective as traditional western medical
Yoga has a rich history with roots in India but branches in all cultures
and parts of the world. The literature demonstrating beneficial effects
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386 L. A. Brotto et al.
of yoga in numerous physical and psychological ailments is compelling
and growing and yoga interventions are increasingly incorporated into
existing treatment programs because of their demonstrated benefit. In the
domain of sexual response, yoga has also been touted as a method for
improving genital awareness, stimulating genital blood flow, enhancing
relaxation of the pelvic floor, reducing vulvodynia, reducing symptoms of
premature ejaculation, enhancing erectile capacity, extending the longevity
of intercourse, and fundamentally, of enhancing sexual pleasure. However,
the empirical research is limited to one controlled study of yoga for the
treatment of premature ejaculation in men. Moreover, there is no empirical
research on specific ¯
asana for specific sexual problems, despite this practice
and teaching for many hundreds of years. Clearly, this is an area of research
worthy of future efforts.
One specific practice in yoga, the moola bandha, bears particular
promise in the treatment of sexual problems, especially in women, where
it has been used for centuries. Again, however, there are no empirical data
demonstrating its tremendous anecdotal benefits. As a treatment for women
with pelvic pain disorders, the moola bandha may complement pelvic floor
physiotherapy by relaxing and enhancing awareness of pelvic floor tension
for women with vestibulodynia and vaginismus. Future research may be
aimed at comparing standard care with and without the practice of moola
bandha instruction for the treatment of dyspareunia.
Kundalini yoga also bears great promise in the treatment of sexual
problems with its focus on sexual energy and deserves to be studied
empirically. The advantage of kundalini yoga is that it does not require
being a yoga expert or following instructions from a yoga teacher in the
long term (although initial instruction by a teacher is required). Practitioners
can do so in the privacy of their own homes. Also, because of its holistic
nature of integrating yoga with breath work, results are often noted much
sooner than other forms of yoga.
With the advent of the age of “evidence-based treatment,” professionals
and the lay public want proof that our interventions are effective. Because
yoga has been practiced and taught for many centuries, and because of
the power of the personal attestation that yoga is effective, it has not been
subjected to the scrutiny of empirical testing that many other interventions
in medicine have. Those who practice yoga experience the benefits. It is our
hope that this experience will ignite an interest in testing and demonstrating
the beneficial effects of yoga for many different facets of human sexuality.
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... It is worth mentioning in this regard that nonrespiratory stimuli like rhythmical muscle tension seem to exert cardiovascular resonance at 0.1 Hz as well (Lehrer et al., 2009;Shaffer et al., 2022;Vaschillo et al., 2011). Noteworthy, the moola bandha, a yoga technique describing the recruitment of the pelvic floor muscles has been suggested to stimulate the autonomic nervous system (Brotto et al., 2009). Of note, recent research has shown that voluntary pelvic floor recruitment could represent a feasible approach to induce cardiac resonance (Bastos et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
Resonance breathing (RB) has been shown to benefit health and performance within clinical and non-clinical populations. This is attributed to its baroreflex stimulating effect and the concomitant increase in cardiac vagal activity (CVA). Hence, developing methods that strengthen the CVA boosting effect of RB could improve its clinical effectiveness. Therefore, we assessed whether supplementing RB with coherent pelvic floor activation (PRB), which has been shown to entrain the baroreflex, yields stronger CVA than standard RB. N = 32 participants performed 5-min of RB and PRB, which requires to recruit the pelvic floor during the complete inspiratory phase and release it at the initiation of the expiration. CVA was indexed via heart rate variability using RMSSD and LF-HRV. PRB induced significantly larger RMSSD (d = 1.04) and LF-HRV (d = 0.75, ps < .001) as compared to RB. Results indicate that PRB induced an additional boost in CVA relative to RB in healthy individuals. However, subsequent studies are warranted to evaluate whether these first findings can be replicated in individuals with compromised health, including a more comprehensive psychophysiological assessment to potentially elucidate the origin of the observed effects. Importantly, longitudinal studies need to address whether PRB translates to better treatment outcomes.
... Other treatments for female sexual dysfunctions have been suggested, such as acceptance and commitment therapy [66] and psychoeducational interventions [52,67]. In addition, the effects of traditional Chinese approaches to treating female sexual dysfunctions (besides mindfulness) have also been begun to be studied [68,69], mainly including acupuncture [70][71][72][73][74][75], yoga [75][76][77][78][79], and herbal products [80]. Although these eastern techniques may have preliminary promising results in the treatment of female sexual dysfunctions, the literature is scarce, so it is not possible to draw solid conclusions about their efficacies [75]. ...
Full-text available
Many possible factors impact sexual wellbeing for women across the lifespan, and holistic approaches are being utilized to promote health and to address sexual concerns. Female sexual dysfunction disorders, including female orgasmic disorder, female sexual interest/arousal disorder and genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, negatively impact quality of life for many women. To reduce distress and improve sexual functioning, numerous behavioral therapies have been tested to date. Here, we present a state-of-the-art review of behavioral therapies for female sexual dysfunction disorders, focusing on empirically validated approaches. Multiple psychotherapies have varying degrees of support, with cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based therapies arguably having the most empirical support. Nonetheless, several limitations exist of the studies conducted to date, including the frequent grouping together of multiple types of sexual dysfunctions in randomized clinical trials. Thus, additional research is needed to advance treatment development for female sexual dysfunctions and to promote female sexual health.
... A betegségek prevenciója, a jóllét állapotának elérése, az életminőség szempontjából az életmód relevanciája megkérdőjelezhetetlen. A jóga az életmódtényezőkre (alvás, stressz, szorongás, táplálkozás, dohányzás, szexualitás) is jó hatást gyakorol (Brown -Gerbarg 2005, Brotto et al. 2009, Penman et al. 2012, Hariprasad et al. 2013, Dai -Sharma 2014, Lin et al. 2015. Egy ausztrál kutatási eredmény szerint tíz héten át végzett heti 1 óra hatha jóga csökkentette a stresszt, alkati szorongást, és javította az életminőséget (Smith 2007). ...
... Some evidence suggests that yoga may potentially be useful in managing constipation, 74,75 improving sleep quality and sleep architecture, 19,76 increasing appetite, 77 and reducing sexual dysfunction. [78][79][80] In addition to the above-mentioned effects, a yogabased lifestyle may also help improve adherence and compliance with conventional treatments for OUD. 81 Thus, yoga therapy may serve as a useful low-cost and low-risk adjunct therapy in management of OUD. ...
Context: Opioid use disorder (OUD) involves excessive use of opioids-such as heroin, morphine, fentanyl, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone-leading to major health, social, and economic consequences. Yoga lifestyle interventions have been found to be useful as adjunct therapies in management of substance use disorders and chronic pain conditions. Objective: The research team intended to develop, validate, and test for feasibility a yoga program for OUD patients that could reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms-such as pain, fatigue, low mood, anxiety and sleep disturbances-and cravings associated with drugs. Design: The research team first performed a literature review of traditional and contemporary yoga texts, such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Light on Yoga, as well as modern scientific literature in the following search engines-Google Scholar, PubMed, and PsychInfo, using the keywords yoga, pranayama, hatha yoga, relaxation. meditation, substance use, addiction, impulsivity, craving, sleep quality, and fatigue. Using the information obtained, the team developed a yoga program and designed a pilot study that used the program. Setting: The study took place in the Department of Integrative Medicine at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, India. Participants: Participants in the pilot study were 8 inpatients, 6 males and 2 females, who were on opioid agonist treatment (buprenorphine) for OUD. Intervention: The intervention was the yoga program previously validated by the research team. In the pilot study, participants were taught a one-hour, yoga-based intervention, with sessions occurring once per day, for 10 sessions. Outcome measures: For validation, 13 experts scored the yoga program that the research team had developed and gave suggestions for each yogic practice for use during the acute phase of withdrawal and the maintenance phase respectively. A content validity ratio (CVR) was calculated from their scoring, and the research team made changes to the program based on the scoring and suggestions. For the pilot study, assessments occurred at baseline and postintervention. The participants' yoga performance was rated by the yoga trainer on a yoga performance assessment scale (YPA). Other measurements included: (1) the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS), (2) the Hamilton's anxiety rating scale (HAM-A), (3) the Hamilton's depression rating scale (HAM-D), (4) buprenorphine dosage, (5) the Clinical Global Impression Severity (CGI-S) scale, (6) a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, (7) sleep quality (latency and duration), and (8) the module's safety. Results: Four practices were removed from the program due to CVR scores below the cutoff, and one practice was found not to be feasible (Kapalabhati). Two categories of yoga modules emerged: (1) for the acute symptomatic phase (40 minutes) and (2) for the maintenance phase (one hour). Practices were added or excluded based on the phase. Conclusions: The yoga module that was developed for reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings in OUD patients was found to be safe, feasible, and potentially useful as an adjunct therapy to conventional treatment.
... One complementary therapy that can reduce perimenopausal complaints is yoga (Agarwal, 2013;Cramer, 2018). This physical activity can balance hormonal changes, reduce physical and psychic complaints, strengthen bones, prevent bone fragility, prevent heart disease, improve endurance, and improve sexual function (Brotto et al., 2009). Unlike previous studies, the study focused on yoga interventions on improving sexual function. ...
Background: Reduced vaginal mucus to dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) is often experienced by perimenopausal women. This decreases sexual drive and awakening in women who influence sexual quality with their partner. One of the body and mind intervention exercises in premenopausal women is loving yoga. This study aims to find out the effectiveness of loving yoga against the sexual function of perimenopausal women. Methods: This type of research is a quantitative experiment with a one-group pretest-posttest design approach. Research by giving loving yoga intervention for four weeks (with intensity twice a week). Loving yoga movement focuses on kegel gymnastics and pelvic muscle movements, such as plank movement, upward dog, happy baby, downward-facing dog, cat-cow, pigeon, cobbler, leg-up-the-wall, reclining-big-toe, and bridge. Researchers measured the sexual function in 30 women by purposive sampling with inclusion criteria were aged 40-50 and still sexually active before and after loving yoga using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. Analyze data using paired sample T-test. Results: This study result is seen from the mean value of 14.33, which means the FSFI score ≤ 26.5. While after complementary therapy loving yoga, the mean value of respondents is 30.13 or an FSFI score ≥ of 26.5, which means no sexual dysfunction. Based on the calculated Paired T-Test variables, the sexual function is obtained at the value of –28,748 with a significance value of < 0,000 (p < 0,05). Conclusion: Loving yoga has an influence 28,748 times on changes in the sexual function in perimenopausal women.
This article analyzes the Spanish horror film The Skin I Live In (TSILI) from a feminist perspective. Different feminist theories such as the male gaze, toxic masculinity, and the Final Girl are used to explore how TSILI criticizes heteronormative masculinity. By comparing Almodóvar’s film to other horror classics such as Psycho and Halloween , I discuss how TSILI offers a unique and modernist depiction of gender within horror.
OBJECTIVE: The pituitary gland is responsible for hormonal balance in the body, and disruption of hormonal balance in patients with pituitary adenoma (PA) indirectly affects quality of life. This study aimed to examine the effects of yoga and combined aerobic and strength training (A+ST) on quality of life and related parameters such as sleep, fatigue, emotional state, sexual function, and cognitive status in women with PA. DESIGN: Ten women with PA were included in this randomized crossover study. Group 1 (n=5, mean age 52±13.5 years) received A+ST for the first 6 weeks, a 2-week washout period, and yoga for the second 6 weeks. Group 2 (n=5, mean age 41.8±14 years) received the yoga program first, followed by the A+ST program METHODS: Participants were assessed using the following tools before and after each exercise intervention: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Brain (FACT-Br), Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), Hospital Anxiety And Depression Scale (HADS), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale (MOCA). RESULTS: FACT-Br scores were higher after the yoga program, HADS anxiety score was lower after the A+ST program, and MOCA scores increased after both exercise programs (p<0.05). FSS score decreased after both exercise programs, but not significantly. CONCLUSION: A+ST and yoga have positive effects on quality of life in PA . We recommend yoga and A+ST as a supportive therapy in this population that may face comorbidities after surgical and medical treatment. Our results indicate these patients may benefit from physiotherapist-guided exercise programs.
Nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) range from neuropsychiatric and cognitive to sleep, sensory, and genito-urinary disorders, and occur as a result of the disease process as well as due to side effects of drug treatment for PD. Sexual dysfunction is an important aspect of the nonmotor profile of Parkinson's but is rarely discussed. Sexual health is considered an integral element of holistic health, thus sexual dysfunction can also significantly impact quality of life in people with Parkinson’s. The effect of sexual dysfunction of PD, both disease related and drug induced, on the concept of “wellness” of patients and their intimate partners is poorly understood, inadequately researched and a key unmet need in care and support. In this chapter we discuss the concept of “wellness” as applied to the treatment of PD, the ways in which nonmotor symptoms and other aspects of living may affect wellness in PD, and strategies for addressing sexual health utilizing a wellness model.
Full-text available
Resonance breathing (RB) has been shown to improve psychophysiological health and performance within clinical and non-clinical populations. This is attributed to its baroreflex stimulating effects and the concomitant increase in cardiac vagal activation (CVA). Hence, developing methods that strengthen the CVA boosting effect of RB could improve its clinical effectiveness. Therefore, we assessed whether supplementing RB with coherent pelvic floor activation (PRB), which has been shown to entrain the baroreflex, yields stronger CVA than standard RB. N = 32 participants performed 5-minutes of RB and PRB, which requires to recruit the pelvic floor during inhalation and release it at the initiation of the expiration. CVA was indexed via heart rate variability using RMSSD and LF-HRV. PRB induced significantly larger RMSSD (d = 1.04) and LF-HRV (d = 0.75, ps < .001) compared to RB. Our results indicate that coherent pelvic floor recruitment during RB enhances its CVA boosting effects in healthy individuals. However, subsequent studies are warranted to evaluate whether these first findings can be replicated in individuals with compromised health, including a more comprehensive psychophysiological assessment to potentially elucidate the origin of the promising effects. Importantly, longitudinal studies need to address whether the additional CVA during PRB translates to better treatment outcomes.
Full-text available
Praktyka jogi jest coraz bardziej popularną formą aktywności fizycznej zarówno w Polsce, jak i na świecie. Wpływa na poprawę stanu zdrowia, ale i stanowi element rozwoju osobistego i często także praktykę duchową. Badania na temat praktyki jogi zdominowane są jednak przez nauki o zdrowiu, zaś w naukach społecznych głównie przez psychologiczne badania oparte o techniki ilościowe, które często mają trudność w uchwyceniu zniuansowanej relacji ciało–umysł, obecnej w doświadczeniu praktyki jogi. Rzadko podejmuje się także próby zbadania związku praktyki jogi z budowaniem relacji społecznych przed jednostkę. Celem artykułu jest przybliżenie polskim czytelnikom i czytelniczkom pól badawczych, gdzie obecnie zgłębia się praktykę jogi jako zjawiska społecznego. Przyglądam się jodze jako fenomenowi historyczno-społecznemu. Przede wszystkim jednak przyglądam się badaniom na temat wpływu praktyki jogi na jednostkę, jak i podejmujących się krytycznego oglądu społeczności jogicznych, by zakończyć na studiach podejmujących temat związku praktyki jogi z relacjami interpersonalnymi. Podsumowując swój przegląd, przedstawiam także rekomendacje dla przyszłych badań na temat praktyki jogi. Artykuł może stanowić inspirację dla przyszłych badaczy i badaczek zainteresowanych praktyką jogi jako zjawiskiem społecznym, na przykład socjologów i socjolożek reprezentujących zróżnicowane dziedziny socjologii, takie jak socjologia rodziny, intymności i pary, ale także sportu, medycyny czy religii.
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Mindfulness practice is an ancient tradition in Eastern philosophy that forms the basis for meditation, and it is increasingly making its way into Western approaches to health care. Although it has been applied to the treatment of many different mental health disorders, it has not been discussed in the context of therapy for sexual problems. In a previous qualitative study of female meditation practitioners who did not have sexual concerns, mindfulness practice was found to be associated with greater sexual response and higher levels of sexual satisfaction. We have recently developed a psychoeducational program for women with sexual arousal disorder subsequent to gynecologic cancer and have included a component of mindfulness training in the intervention. In this paper, we will attempt to provide a rationale for the use of mindfulness in the treatment of women with sexual problems, and will include transcript excerpts from women who participated in our research trial that illustrate how mindfulness was effective in improving their sexuality and quality of life. Although these findings are preliminary, they suggest that mindfulness may have a place in the treatment of sexual concerns.
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Contemporary sexology is fragmented, with the new sexuality studies almost completely split off from the new sexual therapies. Clinical sexology research and practice are in danger of being captured by commercial interests, chiefly the global pharmaceutical industry. One solution to both of these intellectual problems comes from an examination of the all-but-forgotten history of humanistic sexology in the 1970s. It may be that the political involvement, research creativity, body – mind approaches, and respect for sexual diversity that emerge from this history can offer some directions for contemporary sexologists. The New View of Women's Sexual Problems, an educational campaign dedicated to challenging the post-Viagra medicalisation of sexual problems, incorporates some of these humanistic elements in a way that offers some new training directions.
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Introduction: Yoga is a popular form of complementary and alternative treatment. It is practiced both in developing and developed countries. Use of yoga for various bodily ailments is recommended in ancient ayvurvedic (ayus = life, veda = knowledge) texts and is being increasingly investigated scientifically. Many patients and yoga protagonists claim that it is useful in sexual disorders. We are interested in knowing if it works for patients with premature ejaculation (PE) and in comparing its efficacy with fluoxetine, a known treatment option for PE. Aim: To know if yoga could be tried as a treatment option in PE and to compare it with fluoxetine. Methods: A total of 68 patients (38 yoga group; 30 fluoxetine group) attending the outpatient department of psychiatry of a tertiary care hospital were enrolled in the present study. Both subjective and objective assessment tools were administered to evaluate the efficacy of the yoga and fluoxetine in PE. Three patients dropped out of the study citing their inability to cope up with the yoga schedule as the reason. Main outcome measure: Intravaginal ejaculatory latencies in yoga group and fluoxetine control groups. Results: We found that all 38 patients (25-65.7% = good, 13-34.2% = fair) belonging to yoga and 25 out of 30 of the fluoxetine group (82.3%) had statistically significant improvement in PE. Conclusions: Yoga appears to be a feasible, safe, effective and acceptable nonpharmacological option for PE. More studies involving larger patients could be carried out to establish its utility in this condition.
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The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a dramatic influx of yoga into the West. Hatha yoga is a movement-based form of relaxation and meditation that combines physical postures, exercises, and breathing techniques. The current study examined the potential of yoga to buffer against the harmful effects of self-objectification as well as to promote embodiment (i.e., body awareness and responsiveness) and well-being in a sample of 19 participants enrolled in a 2-month yoga immersion program. Participants completed a short survey at six time points during the yoga immersion. Results showed thatthe women in the study objectified their own bodies less after participation in the program. Furthermore, among both men and women, more frequent yoga practice was associated with increased body awareness, positive affect, and satisfaction with life, as well as decreased negative affect. Policy implications are discussed, particularly the importance of teaching yoga in schools.
Background. The study was conducted to obtain a preliminary indication of the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of vulvar vestibulitis but also to obtain information how well the women tolerate the treatment. Methods. Fourteen young women with vulvar vestibulitis according to Friedrich's criteria were enrolled in the study and 13 fulfilled the acupuncture treatment a total of 10 times. For evaluation quality of life (QOL) assessments were made before starting the treatment and then at one week and at three months after it was completed. Results. The treatment was well tolerated and the QOL measurements were all significantly higher after both the last acupuncture and three months later, compared to before the treatment was started. Conclusion. The results seem promising, but a larger controlled randomized study should be carried out before the treatment can be recommended for use in clinical practice.
Since the launch of Viagra, there have been few studies on the perspective of the female partner. Through a multiple case study approach drawing from phenomenology and the constant comparative method of analysis, this qualitative exploratory study examines the stories of four women living with a spouse who is currently taking Viagra. Findings highlight the need for a more holistic approach to treating erectile dysfunction that supports both partners within the couple relationship. It is also suggested that greater attention should be given to the relationship and to the sexual needs of women.
This article reveals women aged 67 to 86 making sense of sexuality in the Viagra era. Drawing from interviews, survey data and content analysis of newspaper advice columns, I argue that senior women use Viagra as a vehicle to discuss and critique sexualized masculinity, sexualized culture, sexual obligation in marriage, and sexual health and pleasure. This data complicates and fills out existing qualitative research on aging and sexuality, while rejecting popular assumptions that the elderly are asexual. These women use Viagra to discuss pleasure and danger in their lives, to tell sexual stories, to build community, to critique social institutions, and even to promote social change in the 21st century.
Background: The study was conducted to obtain a preliminary indication of the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of vulvar vestibulitis but also to obtain information how well the women tolerate the treatment. Methods: Fourteen young women with vulvar vestibulitis according to Friedrich's criteria were enrolled in the study and 13 fulfilled the acupuncture treatment a total of 10 times. For evaluation quality of life (QOL) assessments were made before starting the treatment and then at one week and at three months after it was completed. Results: The treatment was well tolerated and the QOL measurements were all significantly higher after both the last acupuncture and three months later, compared to before the treatment was started. Conclusion: The results seem promising, but a larger controlled randomized study should be carried out before the treatment can be recommended for use in clinical practice.
Many scholars have noted that brahmacharya (celibacy) is an important concept in Hindu notions of male identity (cf. Kakar 1981, 1982, 1990; Obeyesekere 1976, 1981; for comparison, see Gilmore 1990). Although the psychological basis of this concept has been studied, there is very little in the literature on the "medical mechanics" of being and becoming a brahmachari. Nor is there a comprehensive account of the precise relationship between sex and the meaning of physical health in modern urban India. Through an examination of the popular Hindi literature on brahmacharya, interpreted within the context of therapeutic celibacy as put in practice by a modern yoga society, this article shows how a discourse about sex, semen, and health is conceived of in terms of embodied truth. Using Foucaulfs critique of Western sexuality as a contrasting frame of reference, I argue that the "truth" about sex in modern North India is worked out in somatic rather than psychological terms, in which morality is problematically defined by male physiology and gendered conceptions of good health, [celibacy, sex, yoga, health, semen, identity, North India]
For many years, different views have existed regarding etiology and treatment of premature ejaculation (PE). On one hand it was argued that PE is caused by psychological factors, like unresolved unconscious conflicts, relationship problems, and/or self-learned behaviour. On the other hand, it has been argued that PE is caused by either somatic factors, like hypersensitivity of the glans penis, a higher cortical representation of the pudendal nerve, or neurobiological factors, like disturbances in the central serotonergic neurotransmission and serotonergic receptor functioning. Until recently, there has not been a theory integrating these different views. Recenty, Waldinger emphasized that the occurrence of PE does not automatically imply the existence of a male sexual disorder. PE is a frequent males sexual complaint, but its occurrence is not always the result of mental or physical pathology. Therefore, Waldinger proposed a new classification of PE for the pending DSM-V. According to this new classification there are four PE syndromes; lifelong PE, acquired PE, natural variable PE and premature-like ejaculatory dysfunction. These syndrome are distinguished by the duration of the IELT, frequency of complaints, its course in lifetime, etiology, pathophysiology and treatment. For example, men with lifelong PE usually ejaculate within 1 minute after penetration from about the first sexual encounters. As this disorder is also recognized in male rats, it is highly likely that this disorder is mainly neurobiologically determined. These men need drug treatment to delay ejaculation. In contrast, the new defined category of men with premature-like ejaculatory dysfunction complain of PE while having normal IELT (3-7 minutes) and even long IELTs (10-25 minutes). As the IELT is normal and there is nothing biologically disturbed in these men, it is very likely that this syndrome is mainly psychological and perhaps even culturally determined. These men should not be treated with medication, but with counselling, psycho-education or psychotherapy in order to learn how to cope with their complaints. Acquired PE may be psychologically or somatically determined. These men need either counselling or psychotherapy, or adequate treatment of the underlying somatic disorder (thyroid or urological diseases). Lastly, a second new defined category are men with natural variable PE. These men only occasionally have early ejaculations. There is no indication that occasional occurrence of PE is either related to psychological or somatic pathology. Therefore it is assumed that natural variable PE is only a manifestation of normal ejaculatory performance. In case of seeking treatment, these men need reassurance or counselling. The new classification of PE integrates both psychological as neurobiological etiologies and pathophysiologies of PE. These different etiologies determine the different treatments of PE, which is either medication, somatic treatment, psychotherapy, counselling, psychoeducation or reassurance.