J Sex Res 2002 Nov;39(4):302-9
School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 125 Australia
This study was concerned with how the sexuality and relationships of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are different from those of people from the general population.
Three-hundred eighty-one respondents (144 males, 237 females) with MS and 291 respondents (101 males, 190 females) from the general population participated in the study.
Sexual satisfaction, sexual dysfunction, relationship satisfaction, and coping style were assessed among all respondents.
Information was also obtained from people with MS regarding age of onset and diagnosis of symptoms, as well as severity of symptoms.
Overall, males with MS experienced a higher frequency of sexual dysfunction than males from the general population, while females with MS only differed from females from the general population in their levels of masturbation and numbness of the genital area.
Coping strategies and levels of cognitive functioning were important predictors of sexual satisfaction, sexual dysfunction, and relationship satisfaction for women with MS, but there were fewer coping or health-related factors that predicted these variables among men with MS.
The results of this study are discussed in terms of factors related to sexual satisfaction and positive interpersonal relationships.
There is a need to conduct further research in this area so that professionals working with people with MS are informed on strategies to improve the sexuality and relationships of their clients lives.