We Need to Talk: Disclosure of Sexual Problems is Associated with Depression, Sexual Functioning, and Relationship Satisfaction in Women.

Journal of sex & marital therapy

PubMedID: 28107110

Merwin KE, O'Sullivan LF, Rosen NO. We Need to Talk: Disclosure of Sexual Problems is Associated with Depression, Sexual Functioning, and Relationship Satisfaction in Women. J Sex Marital Ther. 2017;0.
Women with sexual problems (e. g. , difficulties with desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and pain during sexual activity) experience more depressive symptoms, and poorer sexual functioning and relationship satisfaction compared with unaffected women. A robust literature highlights the importance of sexual communication, and sexual self-disclosures in particular, for the well-being of individuals in romantic relationships. However, little is known about the disclosure of sexual problems to romantic partners and its association with women's psychological, sexual, and relationship well-being. This study examined the proportion of women (N = 277) who disclose (vs. do not disclose) sexual problems to their partner, and the consequences of disclosure. Women (Mage = 29. 79, SD = 6. 54) completed online validated measures assessing sexual problems, relationship satisfaction, sexual functioning, and depressive symptoms. The majority (69. 3%) reported disclosing sexual problems to their current romantic partner. Disclosers reported fewer depressive symptoms, and greater sexual functioning and relationship satisfaction compared to non-disclosers. Disclosing sexual problems may benefit women's well-being by enhancing intimacy or allowing couples to adapt sexual activities to accommodate sexual problems. Clinicians might use cognitive-behavioral strategies to assist women in disclosing sexual problems to partners to maximize the potential psychological, sexual, and relationship benefits.