Evaluation of a Cognitive Behavior Therapy Program for People with Sexual Dysfunction

Article excerpt

McCabe, M.P. (2001). Evaluation of a cognitive behavior therapy program for people with sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27, 259-271.

Although sexual dysfunctions among men and women are known to be common and the practice of sex therapy is now well established, there have been relatively few studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of sex therapy treatment programs for psychogenic related sexual dysfunction. There are a very small number of studies that have suggested that cognitive behavioural strategy-based treatment programs may be effective for female arousal and orgasm disorders and for male erectile dysfunction. However, the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural interventions in treating lack of sexual desire, considered to be the most difficult of all the sexual dysfunctions to treat, is largely unknown.

The objective of the McCabe study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioural treatment program for men and women with sexual dysfunction who presented to a University Sexual Behavior Clinic in Australia for treatment of their sexual dysfunction. A total of 95 men and 105 women began the program but only 45 men (mean age = 39.9) and 54 women (mean age = 36.2) completed it. Among the men who completed the program, erectile dysfunction was the most common problem pre-therapy followed by premature ejaculation and retarded ejaculation. It is noteworthy that none of the men who presented with lack of sexual interest at the beginning of the study completed the program. Among women who completed the program, lack of sexual interest, anorgasmia, sexual arousal disorder, and vaginismus were the problems presented pre-therapy. Respondents were included in the study if it had been established that their sexual dysfunction was primarily psychogenic as opposed to physiological in nature.

Based on cognitive behavioural principles, the intervention consisted of a ten-session program that emphasized enhancing communication between partners, increasing sexual skills, and lowering sexual anxiety and performance anxiety. The first two sessions were provided once a week and subsequent sessions occurred every two weeks. Participants were given homework assignments that included sensate focus and couple communication exercises. …