Twenty-six couples participated in a 2-year longitudinal study of sexual functioning before and after treatment for carcinoma of the cervix. Sexual functioning was measured on admission prior to their treatment and at 6, 12 and 24 months follow-up and made operational in terms of current sexual behavior, sexual motivation, sexual (dis)satisfaction, and the perception of genital sensations of sexual arousal. An age-matched nonpatient control group was added to the study. In addition, the results of a 1-year longitudinal assessment of sexual functioning of women diagnosed and treated by means of simple hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disease were used for comparison. The impact of physical variables and participation in the research project was also evaluated. At 1-year follow-up, sexual functioning of the women who had been treated for carcinoma of the cervix was very similar to sexual functioning of the women who underwent simple hysterectomy for benign disease: in both populations the sexual response was significantly disturbed, whereas current sexual behavior and motivation for sexual interaction were within the normal range. The women clearly expressed general satisfaction with their sexual functioning and little relational sexual dissatisfaction. These data demonstrate that woman's motivation for and satisfaction with sexual interaction with the partner is not limited to the experience of sexual arousal and that sexual rehabilitation aimed specifically at the diagnosis of cancer and the associated physical variables is not really justified.
- cervical cancer
- sexual functioning
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