Introduction. Stroke may have negative consequences for the patients' quality of life, including sexual function. Whereas physical impairment will influence sexual positions and movement during sex, depression and medication may reduce sexual desire. So far, data on sexual dysfunction after stroke are scant. Although some support for physical as well as psychological explanations has been shown, further research to find the remedies for those patients with sexual problems after stroke is needed. The focus of the present study is on the identification of relevant psychological factors.
Aim. The aim of this study was to study the impact of anxiety, depression, and sexual responsiveness on sexual function in male stroke patients.
Methods. Nineteen male stroke patients completed a number of self-report measures to assess psychological and sexual factors.
Main Outcome Measures. Sexual function based on the International Index of Erectile Function, anxiety and depression based on the Symptom Checklist-90, and sexual responsiveness based on the Sexual Inhibition/Sexual Excitation Scale, including propensities for sexual excitation and sexual inhibition as a result of both performance failure and performance consequences, were assessed.
Results. Sexual excitation was positively related to sexual desire, whereas inhibition because of the threat of performance failure was negatively related to orgasmic function and sexual desire (P < 0.01). Patients with high levels of inhibition because of threat of performance failure were more likely to report low scores on overall sexual function than those with low levels.
Conclusions. Although the statistical power is rather low, the results show the relevance of sexual responsiveness to sexual function in male stroke patients. The present study can be considered as a first step toward building a theoretical framework of relevant psychological and physical factors, which is needed to develop adequate interventions for those patients with sexual problems after stroke. Duits A, van Oirschot N, van Oostenbrugge RJ, and van Lankveld J. The relevance of sexual responsiveness to sexual function in male stroke patients. J Sex Med 2009;6:3320–3326.