Mindfulness-based therapies for men and women with sexual dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Banbury, Samantha, Lusher, Joanne, Snuggs, Sarah and Chandler, Chris (2023) Mindfulness-based therapies for men and women with sexual dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 38 (4). pp. 534-555. ISSN 1468-1749


Mindfulness based interventions (MBI) may be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction among men and women. A literature review identified seven trials for sexual dysfunction and MBI. Of these, four trials were Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) including a control-group wait list and three studies used within-subjects design. A meta-analysis synthesized the results across these trials which demonstrated an overall low to moderate effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.55). Moderate heterogeneity between studies was evident with possible publication bias. Sub-group analysis revealed differences between study weights, where overall higher effect sizes were found among RCTs (d = 0.65) than within subject design studies (d = 0.27). However, within subject design studies tended to include pre and post-physiological measurements (e.g. vaginal photoplethysmography), which may provide a more precise evaluation of the benefits of MBI, rather than studies based on self-report measures only. This review identified a gender inequality in which clinical trials predominated among women compared to men with a 6:1 ratio. Whilst MBI looks promising, significantly more research is needed, particularly among men, so that science, practice and policy can develop an understanding of the potential benefits of non-prescription intervention alternatives, or as a biopsychosocial adjunct, such as MBI, in support of those experiencing sexual dysfunction.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.

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