Mindfulness Treatment of Sexual Pain Disorders

Talli Y. Rosenbaum, MSc


Sexual pain disorders are understood to have multi-factorial components. Traditional biopsychosocial treatment models, goal-oriented towards achievement of painless penile-vaginal intercourse, designate the physiological aspects of treatment to physicians and physiotherapists, and the psycho-social aspects including anxiety and aversion, to mental health professionals including psychotherapists and sex therapists. However, as fear, aversion to touch, and pain avoidance are significant characteristics of the patient’s response to physical examination and treatment, there is a recognized need for practitioners to be skilled in addressing cognitions, anxiety and pain related emotional responses in the clinical setting. This clinical paper offers a mindfulness based approach to physical and behavioral interventions, which promotes feelings of safety and aims to encourage clients to suspend self judgment, stay connected and  present during treatment, and experience personal autonomy while finding meaning in the sexual connection. This approach is useful in both mental health and medical settings.