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Stress and Depression Are Associated with Sexual Function and Satisfaction in Young Men Who Have Sex with Men.

Authors
  • Lapping-Carr, Leiszle1
  • Mustanski, Brian2, 3
  • Ryan, Daniel T3
  • Costales, Cocoa3
  • Newcomb, Michael E3
  • 1 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 N St Clair St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA. [email protected].
  • 2 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 N St Clair St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA.
  • 3 Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Archives of sexual behavior
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2023
Volume
52
Issue
5
Pages
2083–2096
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-023-02615-5
PMID: 37253920
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Prior research suggests that better mental health and higher relationship quality are associated with better sexual function and satisfaction. Such insights can inform intervention development for mental, relationship, and sexual health concerns. This study examined the interactions among these variables in a racially and ethnically diverse group of young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in serious relationships (N = 348). Data were drawn from wave 5 of a longitudinal cohort study. We examined cross-sectional associations between depression and stress (predictors) and sexual function, sexual satisfaction, and anal discomfort (outcomes) and to what extent these associations were moderated by relationship quality. Higher endorsement of depression and stress was associated with worse sexual functioning, lower sexual satisfaction, and more anal discomfort. We also found that fewer negative interactions, stronger commitment, and higher relationship satisfaction were associated with better sexual functioning and higher sexual satisfaction. Higher relationship satisfaction and commitment were found to attenuate the association between stress and sexual satisfaction. Contrary to expectations, higher relationship satisfaction also showed a trend toward exacerbating the association between depression and sexual functioning. These results suggest that, for YMSM, high relationship satisfaction and commitment may protect sexual satisfaction from being negatively impacted by high stress. However, YMSM in highly satisfying relationships may experience poor sexual functioning associated with depression as particularly distressing. This study addressed a major gap in the literature by focusing on mental, relationship, and sexual health in a diverse sample. Future research should examine a wider range of sexual functioning outcomes and include minority stress in study design. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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