The goal of this study was to evaluate a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral intervention for sexual dysfunction in gynecologic cancer survivors compared to a wait-list control group.
Thirty-one survivors of endometrial or cervical cancer (mean age 54.0, range 31–64) who self-reported significant and distressing sexual desire and/or sexual arousal concerns were assigned either to three, 90-minute mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy sessions or two months of wait-list control prior to entering the treatment arm. Validated measures of sexual response, sexual distress, and mood, as well as laboratory-evoked physiological and subjective sexual arousal were assessed at pre-, one month post-, and 6-months following treatment.
There were no significant effects of the wait-list condition on any measure. Treatment led to significant improvements in all domains of sexual response, and a trend towards significance for reducing sexual distress. Perception of genital arousal during an erotic film was also significantly increased following the intervention despite no change in physiologically-measured sexual arousal.
A brief mindfulness-based intervention was effective for improving sexual functioning. Geographic restrictions permitted only a select sample of survivors to participate, thus, the generalizability of the findings is limited. Future studies should aim to develop online modalities for treatment administration to overcome this limitation.