ORIGINAL RESEARCH—SEXUAL PAIN DISORDERS: The Association between Sexual Function, Pain, and Psychological Adaptation of Men Diagnosed with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Type III


Sylvie Aubin, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 825 Eastlake Avenue East, G4-830, Seattle, WA 98109-1023, USA. Tel: (206) 288-1447; Fax: (206) 288-2042; E-mail: saubin@u.washington.edu


Introduction.  Prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is known to have a negative impact on quality of life, especially on intimate relationships and sexual function. Information is, however, missing on the contribution of demographic and psychological variables to sexual variables.

Aim.  We compared the sexual function of men with CPPS to men without pain, and examined the relationship between the sexual, demographic, and psychological measures in men with CPPS.

Main Outcome Measures.  Self-report questionnaires assessing demographic, pain, sexual function, and psychological adaptation.

Methods.  The sample consisted of 72 men diagnosed with CPPS and 98 men without any pain condition. Self-report questionnaires measuring demographic, pain, and sexual function were completed once at the eligibility visit by all subjects. CPPS subjects completed additional questionnaires related to pain and psychological adaptation.

Results.  CPPS subjects differed from controls by reporting significantly less frequent sexual desire or thoughts, less frequent sexual activities, less arousal/erectile function, less orgasm function, and higher frequencies of genital pain during/after intercourse. When we adjusted for age and marital status, the difference between groups remained for thoughts/desire, frequency of sexual activity, and arousal/erectile function. Analysis of factors related to sexual function in CPPS subjects included pain status and psychological adaptation. Results showed that frequency of sexual activity decreased with increasing depression, whereas arousal/erectile function decreased with increasing pain symptoms and stress appraisal. Orgasm function decreased with increasing depression and pleasure/satisfaction decreased with increasing pain symptoms, stress appraisal, and decreasing belief of a relationship between emotions and pain.

Conclusions.  We found a differential sexual profile for men with CPPS when compared to men without pain. The results suggest that interventions addressing psychological factors affecting sexual responses should be further studied in prospective clinical trials as one possible way to improve sexual function and satisfaction in men with CPPS. Aubin S, Berger RE, Herman JR, and Ciol MA. The association between sexual function, pain, and psychological adaptation of men diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain syndrome type III. J Sex Med 2008;5:657–667.