The Role of Sex Therapy in the Management of Patients with Parkinson's Disease

Gila Bronner*, Amos D. Korczyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Patients with Parkinson disease (PD) and their partners report deterioration in their sexual life. Sexual dysfunction (SD), an important and often ignored aspect, is common in PD. Motor and nonmotor symptoms are involved in limiting pleasure and disturbing function. Sexual dissatisfaction is more common in men that in women. Frequently, both patients and partners have SD associated with PD, and both need suitable treatment. These issues need to be evaluated by neurologists or PD nurses and by specialized sex therapists. The objectives of this study were to describe the complexity and multidimensional nature of sexual problems in PD, enable practitioners to assess and treat sexual difficulties of their patients, and increase awareness of the role of sex therapy in the therapeutic process of PD. Methods: Based on clinical experience of over 30 years in movement disorder clinics and a review of the literature, the authors suggest practical approaches, including an “Open Sexual Communication” module, prescribing medications, and/or referring to specialists. Results and Discussion: The longitudinal nature of treating neurologic patients puts physicians in an important position to introduce sexual issues and to assess and plan the interventions and follow-up needed to ensure that sexual difficulties are resolved. The management of hypersexuality requires a thoughtful distinction between lack of opportunities for sexual expression, limited ability to perform, and true hypersexuality. Sex therapists have a major role in the assessment and treatment of the multiple factors that may underlie sexual dissatisfaction in PD, differentiating between hypersexual behaviors and other sexual preoccupation behaviors, and training the professional team.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Parkinson's disease
  • hypersexuality
  • sex therapy
  • sexual dysfunction
  • sexual preoccupation behavior

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