Mindfulness applications to women's sexual difficulties

Dr Lori Brotto

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being fully aware of one's thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in a nonjudgmental way. Although mindfulness is rooted in Eastern spiritual practices, it is rapidly being embraced in Western approaches to both physical and mental health care.

The empirical literature testing mindfulness for sexual problems is limited to two non-controlled studies and one qualitative study in non-distressed couples. Among the latter, a mindfulness-based intervention significantly enhanced relationship satisfaction and reduced distress (Carlson, Carlson, Gil, & Baucom, 2004). In the two non-controlled studies, a 3-session mindfulness-based group therapy significantly improved several indices of sexual function and reduced sexual distress in women with iatrogenic sexual desire and arousal difficulties (Brotto, Basson, & Luria, 2008) and in women with sexual arousal disorder associated with gynecologic cancer (Brotto, Heiman, et al., 2008).

Conflict of Interest: None disclosed
Financial Support/Funding: None disclosed
Recorded at the 20th WAS World Congress for Sexual Health - ‘Forging the Future: Sexual Health for the 21th Century,’Glasgow, United Kingdom, - June 12 – 16, 2011

Lori Brotto
Lori Brotto
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Dr Lori Brotto

Dr Brotto completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia (UBC), where her research focused primarily on psychophysiological aspects of sexual arousal in women diagnosed with sexual dysfunctions. Her psychology internship at the University of Washington (UW) specialized in the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for mood, anxiety, substance abuse and psychotic disorders.

Following her internship, Dr Brotto's Fellowship in Reproductive and Sexual Medicine at UW was mentored by Dr Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute.

As a registered psychologist, Lori Brotto offers psychological therapy to patients referred from both UBC Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Psychiatry, as well as the BC Cancer Agency. Dr Brotto also sees private patients.

Lori Brotto has been awarded many scholarships, fellowships and research grants.


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WAS - World Association fro Sexual HealthSociety of Australian SexologiestsAustralian Centre for Sexual HealthashnAOFSCSEPI - Council of Sex Education and Parenthood (International)SASSM