Couples dealing with their changed sexuality due to cancer: a synthesis of the qualitative research literature

  • Auteur Charlotte Benoot, Marlies Saelaert, Karin Hannes, Johan Bilsen
  • Pdf openbaar Yes

Purpose: When confronted with cancer, a prominent challenge for patients and their partners is their changed sexual relationship. There is a need for an empirically based theoretical model of the sexual adaptation process during cancer.
Method: We conducted a literature synthesis of a purposeful sample of sixteen qualitative papers, using the meta-ethnography approach to select, analyse and synthetize the papers.
Results: We found that the subsequent papers used three different theoretical approaches to describe how couples dealt with their changed sexuality due to cancer: (1) as a process of grief and mourning, depicting sexual changes as a loss, (2) as a process of cognitive restructuring, with a strong focus on the social and cultural forces that shape the values and experiences of sexuality and (3) as a process of sexual rehabilitation, depicting
sexual changes as a bodily dysfunction that needs to be ‘cured’ by (medical) treatment. All three processes have their own opportunities and challenges for practice.
Conclusion: A better knowledge of these three processes might help health care providers in the oncological setting to better understand and guide couples in dealing with their changed sexuality.

Gepubliceerd in 2017, Volume 41, Issue 4