Patient Reported Sexual Adaptation Following Prostate Cancer Treatment: An Analysis of Related Variables and Sexual Outcomes Associated with Sexual Adaptation Styles.

Sexual concerns after prostate cancer (PCa) treatment are high. Flexible coping is a crucial element to maintaining sexual activity after PCa and improves adaptation outcomes. We aimed to identify potential sexual adaptation styles reported by men following PCa treatment, and to assess relationships among associated variables and outcomes. Individuals (n = 223) with PCa treatment history (e.g., radical prostatectomy [n = 165, 74.0%], external beam radiation [n = 83, 37.2%], hormone/androgen deprivation therapy [n = 83, 37.2%]), completed an online survey assessing sexual variables and processes of sexual adaptation. Using a combination of inductive and deductive coding, open-ended responses were thematically analyzed and grouped into sexual adaptation styles. Factors potentially associated with sexual adaptation styles (e.g., age, perceived partner involvement, co-morbidities, relationship duration, time since PCa treatment, desire for physical affection, depression, relationship adjustment) were tested using multinomial logistic regression. Outcomes of sexual well-being (sexual distress, sexual bother, sexual satisfaction) and relationship adjustment were compared against each sexual adaptation style using a multivariate analysis of variance. Sexual activity status and satisfaction with the adaptation process was assessed across the sexual adaptation styles using a chi-square analysis and post-hoc tests. Two distinct categories were identified: those who had Adapted (n = 185) and those who had Not Adapted (n = 38). Four sexual adaptation styles emerged in the adapted category: Relationship Renegotiation (n = 53) and Sexual Renegotiation (n = 47), which were couples-focused styles, and Acceptance/Resignation (n = 34) and Masturbation/Erection (n = 48), which were individual-focused styles. Participants who could not be categorized as one style, but rather met several, were identified as Mixed (n = 3). Higher rates of depression, lower relationship adjustment, lack of sexual activity, and greater dissatisfaction with the adaptation process were observed for Not Adapted participants. Participants engaged in any type of adaptation style fared better than those who had Not Adapted. Couples-focused styles tended to emphasize renegotiation, including a changed perspective on the expression of the relationship. Perceived direct engagement of the partner facilitated adaptation and emphasized engagement with flexible coping, either through redefining priorities or ways of being sexual. Individual-focused styles emphasized pre-cancer erectile function, and either aimed to return to capacity for penetrative sexual activity or accepted its inaccessibility and largely an abandonment of partnered sexual activity.

Archives of sexual behavior. 2024 Apr 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Fatima I Shah, Fiona MacLeod, Lauren M Walker

Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N2, Canada., Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada., Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N2, Canada. .