Satisfaction with sex life in sexually active heterosexual couples dealing with breast cancer: a nationwide longitudinal study

Nina Rottmann*, Dorte Gilsa Hansen, Rene dePont Christensen, Mariet Hagedoorn, Morten Frisch, Anne Nicolaisen, Niels Kroman, Henrik Flyger, Christoffer Johansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: A breast cancer (BC) diagnosis can profoundly affect the sex life of patient and partner within a couple. The purpose of the present study is to examine whether individual and partner sexual functioning, affectionate behavior, emotional closeness and depressive symptoms are associated with change over time in satisfaction with sex life of sexually active heterosexual couples dealing with BC and to explore whether the associations differ between patients and partners after adjustment for basic sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidity and BC treatment.Material and methods: Women with BC and their male partners participated in a longitudinal study (Time 1, 4 months after surgery; Time 2, 5 months later). Participants completed items from the PROMIS (R) Sexual Function and Satisfaction measure (version 1.0), two items measuring affectionate behavior, a single item measuring emotional closeness and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale. Registers provided sociodemographic and medical information. Multilevel models were used, which take the interdependency of couples' scores into account.Results: A total of 287 sexually active couples were included in the analyses. Less vaginal discomfort and more vaginal lubrication were associated with increases in patients' satisfaction with sex life. Patients' and partners' satisfaction increased with higher ratings of their own orgasm ability and of partners' timing of ejaculation. Patients' reports of affectionate behavior were positively associated with their partners' satisfaction, and vice versa for partners. Patients' satisfaction increased the more emotional closeness their partner experienced. Partners' depressive symptoms were negatively associated with their satisfaction. Sociodemographic factors and BC treatment were not significantly associated with change in satisfaction.Conclusion: Satisfaction with sex life in sexually active couples dealing with BC needs to be seen as a couple issue. Health professionals should take the partner into account when addressing sexuality issues. Couples' functioning and relationship-related factors may be promising targets for couple interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalACTA ONCOLOGICA
Volume56
Issue number2
Early online date12-Jan-2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12-Jan-2017
EventSymposium on European Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship (ECRS) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 1-Sep-2016 → …

Keywords

  • DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
  • WOMEN
  • INTIMACY
  • PARTNERS
  • HEALTH
  • PREVALENCE
  • VALIDATION
  • EXPERIENCE
  • PREDICTORS
  • DIAGNOSIS

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