Contemporary Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction: Reexamining the Biopsychosocial Model
Article first published online: 12 AUG 2013
© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Volume 10, Issue 11, pages 2627–2643, November 2013
How to Cite
Berry, M. D. and Berry, P. D. (2013), Contemporary Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction: Reexamining the Biopsychosocial Model. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10: 2627–2643. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12273
- Issue published online: 4 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 12 AUG 2013
- University College London
- American Psychoanalytic Association
- Biopsychosocial Treatment;
- Sexual Dysfunction;
- Integrative Treatment;
- Combinative Therapy
The introduction of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors has revolutionized the armamentarium of clinicians in the field of sexual medicine. However, pharmacotherapy as a stand-alone treatment option has been criticized, particularly by psychosocial therapists, as incomplete. Specifically, it is widely argued that drug treatment alone often does not meet the standards of biopsychosocial (BPS) therapy.
A literature review was performed to explore the role of the biopsychosocial paradigm in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and outline some of the key challenges and possible shortcomings in the current application of biopsychosocial treatment.
Main Outcome Measure
Published treatment outcomes of integrative biopsychosocial clinical practice, including medical outcomes, psychological and relational factors, treatment of comorbid conditions, cost of treatment, and treatment efficacy, were investigated.
Using Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE databases, a literature search for articles published from January 1, 1980, to March 1, 2013, was performed, examining current approaches to the biopsychosocial model of sexual dysfunction and sexual medicine. Data were reviewed and combined, allowing characterization of current treatment approaches and recommendations for clinical practice and future research.
The biopsychosocial model of treatment appears to have an intuitively obvious meaning (i.e., treatment of all three facets of the patient's biological–psychological–social condition). However, research suggests that clear treatment algorithms are still in development. By virtue of the ongoing development of biopsychosocial methods in sexual medicine, new models and research initiatives may be warranted. The evidence identified allows for characterization of some of the current clinical, professional, financial, and systemic challenges to biopsychosocial treatment, with the aim of helping identify possible directions for future research.
Implementation of biopsychosocial treatment, though mandated by process-of-care guidelines, may be limited in the field of sexual health owing to resource limitations, limitations in physician training curricula, and structural obstacles preventing interdisciplinary collaboration. Nonetheless, a number of current treatment developments are biopsychosocially integrative, and a number of established models are biopsychosocially informed. These models and concrete strategies may provide a way forward for developing further initiatives to advance BPS treatment. Berry MD and Berry PD. Contemporary treatment of sexual dysfunction: Reexamining the biopsychosocial model. J Sex Med 2013;10:2627–2643.