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Sexual behavior and sexual problems among patients with severe chronic psychoses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

Antonella Azzoni
Service of Psychiatry, Santo Spirito Hospital, Mental Health Department ASL RM E, Via Prisciano, 26, 00136Rome, Italy
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The aim of the present study was to investigate sexual behavior in a population of psychiatric patients affected by schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder by means of an ad hoc questionnaire designed to explore the three phases of the sexual response: desire (or interest), arousal, and performance. The study assessed patients’ attitude toward sexuality, several aspects of their sexual behavior, including patients’ awareness of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), contraceptive strategy preferred by patients, and sexual effects of psychotropic medication. Patients reported a high frequency of sexual dysfunction, in particular, hyposexuality. Schizophrenia diagnosis and female gender were associated with lower levels of sexual performance. The impact of psychotropic drugs on patients’ sexuality was significant, with both positive and negative effects. Although 65.8% of patients reported to be concerned about the risk of contracting infections during sexual intercourse, most of them engaged in sexual behavior at high risk for acquisition and transmission of STD. Patients’ compliance with contraceptive measures was poor.

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Copyright © Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS 2002

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