The impact of cancer on intimacy and sexuality: it has more impact than you think!

  • Auteur Marjolein E.M. den Ouden, Madeleen J. Uitdehaag
  • Pdf openbaar Yes

Background: In the Netherlands the most prevalent types of cancer are prostate cancer (19.5% in men), breast cancer (28.1% in women), colon cancer (15.5% in men, 12.8% in women), and lung cancer (12.0% in men, 10.4% in women). The five-year survival rate has increased in recent year, underscoring the importance of taking long term consequences into account in the decision making process of treatment options. Cancer
(treatment) can affect quality of life in various ways, including the impact on intimacy and sexuality. The aim of the present review is to give an overview of the impact of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer on intimacy and sexuality.
Methods: The electronic databases of PubMed (MEDLINE), Cinahl and Web of Science were systematically searched for studies describing the impact of cancer (i.e. breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer) on intimacy and sexuality. Domains of interest were sexual function, sexual identity and sexual relation.
Results: The search strategy resulted in 80 studies, of which 45 on breast cancer, 20 on prostate cancer, 5 on colon cancer and 10 on lung cancer. Most studies were focussed on the negative impact of cancer (treatment)
on sexual function. Conclusion: Breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer (treatment) impact all domains of sexual functioning (sexual function, sexual identity and sexual relation). Both patients and partners should be informed about the impact of cancer on intimacy and sexuality. Patients and partners expect that professionals initiate the conversation about this topic.

Gepubliceerd in 2017, Volume 41, Issue 4

Sexual experiences of men with an autism spectrum disorders

  • Auteur Salvatore Vitale, Elsbeth Meij, Richard Vuijk
  • Pdf openbaar No

Studies examining how sexuality is experienced among adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are limited. This study compares how sexuality is experienced by men with ASD with normal intellectual capacities, with a control group consisting of neurotypical developing men, using self-report questionnaires. Results show that both groups report similar sexual values concerning sexual pleasures, sexual relations before marriage and sexual socialisation of children and acceptance of similar psychosexual stimulation. Both groups differ in sexual motivation; men with ASD report less sexual motivation, they also are less attracted to their partner and/or (the concept of ) marriage. In conclusion, this study shows that men with ASD experience more sexual difficulties in comparison to neurotypical men. Therefore, this topic requires specific attention from (mental) health care professionals.

Gepubliceerd in 2017, Volume 41, Issue 1

The association of intimacy, sexuality and attachment orientation in the daily life of heterosexual men and women

  • Auteur Jolanda Hiemstra, Viviane Thewissen, Anita Jansen-Breukelman, Marieke Dewitte, Nele Jacobs, Jacques van Lankveld
  • Pdf openbaar No

The aim of this research was to investigate the association of intimacy with sexual desire and sexual thought content in the daily life of heterosexual men and women, including the moderation of the association of intimacy and sexual functioning by factors such as gender, attachment orientation and relational dissatisfaction. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) was used for data collection. Due to the hierarchical nature of the data, with beep observations nested within days and within persons, multilevel linear regression analyses were used to investigate both cross-sectional (data recorded at the same beep) and temporal associations using time-lag analyses of data on consecutive beeps.
Higher feelings of intimacy with the partner were cross-sectionally associated with higher sexual desire and more sexual thoughts. Based on the observed temporal association in women, a relationship may be assumed between feelings of intimacy with the partner followed by the emergence of sexual thoughts. In men, however, higher intimacy was followed by lower sexual desire. In individuals with avoidant attachment orientation higher intimacy was also associated with lower sexual desire. In individuals with high relational dissatisfaction, intimacy with the partner was followed by a decrease in sexual thoughts at the next beep.
The results from the present study demonstrate an association between feelings of intimacy for the partner, sexual desire and sexual thoughts. There are also indications that intimacy in women can lead to increased sexual thoughts. In addition, the results show that in men perceived intimacy and characteristics of the relationship can decrease sexual desire and sexual thoughts. Insecure attachment also plays a role in the examined associations. The present findings might add to the rationale for relationship-focused interventions in clinical practice. They make clear how sexual desire and thoughts are connected to intimacy and where the process can be disrupted.

Gepubliceerd in 2016, Volume 40, Issue 1