Associations Among Everyday Stress, Critical Life Events, and Sexual Problems

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Abstract

Abstract:

This study addresses the question of how stress is linked to sexual problems among women and men in close relationships. Psychological symptoms, relationship quality, internal daily stress (i.e., originating within the couple such as conflicts, worry for the partner), external daily stress (i.e., stress arising outside the couple such as job stress, stressful relatives, and so forth), and critical life events were examined with regard to their association with different sexual problems. The results support the hypotheses that (1) there is an incremental effect of stress on sexual problems after controlling for psychological symptoms and relationship quality, and that (2) it is primarily internal daily stress and in some cases critical life events rather than external daily stress that are related to sexual problems, particularly hypoactive sexual desire in women and men, sexual aversion in women, vaginismus in women, and premature ejaculation in men. Our findings indicate that the treatment of these sexual problems should address relationship issues and include a focus on helping individuals improve their stress management skills within their couple relationship.

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