Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

The Potential Role of Mindfulness in Protecting against Sexual Insecurities

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

The Potential Role of Mindfulness in Protecting against Sexual Insecurities

Article excerpt

Previous research has identified the detrimental effects of sexual insecurities on various sexual outcomes. However, few studies have investigated factors that may protect against the development and maintenance of these insecurities. Mindfulness has shown promise in promoting sexual well-being in several recent investigations, and may play a role in protecting against sexual insecurities and enhancing sexual satisfaction. Therefore, the goal of this investigation was to determine whether mindfulness was related to reduced sexual insecurities and whether mindfulness mediated the relationship between sexual insecurities and sexual satisfaction. An online survey measuring sexual insecurities, sexual satisfaction and mindfulness was administered to female (n = 687) and male (n = 334) undergraduate students. Multiple regression analyses revealed that higher levels of mindfulness were associated with fewer sexual insecurities and greater sexual satisfaction in men and women. A series of bootstrap multiple mediation analyses indicated that mindfulness partially mediated the relationship between sexual insecurities and several aspects of sexual satisfaction. These research findings suggest that mindfulness may promote sexual satisfaction and mitigate sexual insecurities in men and women. Investigating the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in the reduction of sexual insecurities represents a promising area of future research.

KEY WORDS: Sexuality, Sexual Insecurities, Genital Self-Image, Body Image, Cognitive Distraction, Sexual Performance Insecurities, Sexual Satisfaction, Mindfulness, Mediation

INTRODUCTION

Previous research has documented the adverse effects of sexual insecurities, such as negative body esteem and poor genital self-image, on sexuality. Such sexual insecurities have been found to promote a myriad of sexual problems. For instance, individuals who experience more cognitive distractions related to body esteem or performance during sexual activity also report higher levels of sexual dysfunction (Wiegel, Scepkowski, & Barlow, 2007). Conversely, individuals with fewer body and performance concerns during sexual activity report lower levels of sexual dysfunction and greater sexual satisfaction (Pujols, Seal, & Meston, 2010). Similar trends have been found with genital self-image, wherein individuals with positive attitudes toward their genitals report higher levels of sexual well-being than individuals with negative genital self-images (Berman, Berman, Miles, Pollets, & Powell, 2003; Schick, Calabrese, Rima, & Zucker, 2010).

Despite the succession of research findings highlighting the negative effects of sexual insecurities, there is a relative dearth of research investigating factors that mitigate or guard against their development and maintenance. Mindfulness is a state of mental focus that emphasizes acceptance and awareness of the present moment without judgment or evaluation (de Bruin, Topper, Muskens, Bogels, & Kamphuis, 2012). Research on mindfulness has gained popularity in recent years owing to its promising links to physical health, emotional well-being, psychological health, and positive sexual outcomes (e.g., Brotto, 2012; Brotto, Basson, & Luria, 2008; Brotto & Heiman, 2007; Brotto, Krychman, & Jacobson, 2008; Fink, Foran, Sweeney, & O'Hea, 2009; Murphy, Mermelstein, Edwards, & Gidycz, 2012). Importantly, mindfulness has been linked to a reduction in distress caused by negative, dysfunctional, and ruminative thoughts, as well as decreased stress reactivity, anxiety, and worries (Brotto, 2011; Bullis, Boc, Asnaani, & Hofmann, 2014; Heeren & Philippot, 2011). In addition, mindfulness practice has been linked to reduced automatic stereotyping thoughts and behaviours (Djikic, Langer, & Stapleton, 2008), enhanced emotional regulation (Hill & Updegraff, 2012), and a reduction in psychological distress (Kiken & Shook, 2012). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.