Web-Based Emotion Regulation Training for Sexual Health: Randomized Controlled Trial.

Effective emotional regulation (ER) skills are important for sexual function, as they impact emotional awareness and expression during sexual activity, and therefore, satisfaction and distress. Emotion regulation interventions may offer a promising approach to improve sexual health. Web-based emotion regulation may be a therapeutic strategy for men and women with sexual health concerns. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of intervention trials investigating its effects in this context, much less using the internet.

This study aims to investigate the effects of a web-based emotion regulation training program for sexual function in both men and women.

The participants were recruited based on their self-reported sexual problems, which for men was defined by a score of <25 on the International Index Erectile Function (IIEF) and for women by a score of <26.55 on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). The final sample included 60 participants who were randomized to either a web-based emotion regulation training for sexual function or to a waitlist control group. The treatment consisted of an 8-week web-based emotion regulation training for sexual function. The participants were assessed at baseline, post intervention, and the 3-month follow-up.

Of the 60 participants included, only 6 completed all 3 assessment points (n=5, 20% in the treatment group and n=1, 5% in the waitlist control group) after receiving the intervention. At follow-up, there were no significant differences between groups in any measure. Among the intervention completers, large-to-moderate within-group effect sizes were observed between the assessment points on measures of emotion regulation, depression, lubrication, orgasm, thoughts of sexual failure, and abuse during sexual activity. The adherence rate was very low, limiting the generalizability of the findings.

Participants who completed the intervention showed improvements in both sexual function domains and emotion regulation. Nonetheless, due to a high dropout rate, this trial failed to collect sufficient data to allow for any conclusions to be drawn on treatment effects.

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04792177; https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT04792177.

JMIR formative research. 2024 Apr 03*** epublish ***

Vinicius Jobim Fischer, Maila Rossato Holz, Joël Billieux, Gerhard Andersson, Claus Vögele

Institute for Health and Behaviour, Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg., Conectare Neuropsi, Porto Alegre, Brazil., Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland., Department of Behavioural Science and Learning, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.