After Breast Cancer: Sexual Functioning of Sexual Minority Survivors.

Journal of sex research

PubMedID: 23730713

Boehmer U, Ozonoff A, Timm A, Winter M, Potter J. After Breast Cancer: Sexual Functioning of Sexual Minority Survivors. J Sex Res. 2013;.
Research on sexual difficulties after cancer has neglected sexual minority women (SMW); for example, lesbian and bisexual women. Clinicians treating these women are therefore at a disadvantage as they lack information about sexual problems in this population. This study tested the hypothesis that SMW with breast cancer have poorer sexual function than SMW without breast cancer, distinguishing partnered from unpartnered women. Using convenience sample recruitment, we conducted a case-control study to compare survivors of breast cancers who are SMW, in other words, cases to controls, that is, SMW without cancer. Anonymous survey data were collected from 85 cases after they had completed active cancer treatment and 85 age- and partner-status matched controls with no history of any cancer. Participants' self-reported sexual frequency and sexual function measured by the Female Sexual Function Index were evaluated. Cases and controls did not differ in risk of sexual dysfunction or the level of overall sexual functioning; however, cases had lower sexual frequency and scored lower on desire and ability to reach orgasm, and higher on pain compared to controls. Results inform clinicians about sexual minority survivors' sexual domains affected by cancer. When discussing sexual problems and therapeutic options, sexual orientation should be ascertained.