Sexuality and chronic pain

Megan P. Fleming*, Judith A. Paice

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Pain relief is a significant determinant of quality of life for cancer survivors. However, effective pain management is often complicated by the multiple determinants of the chronic pain experience. For a minority of survivors, nociceptive or neuropathic pain may develop or persist following a pain-free interval of variable duration despite apparent recovery of damaged tissue and continued disease-free status. Additionally, survivors may also suffer from other chronic pain conditions that may have been acquired before or after the cancer diagnosis and treatment. The experience of chronic pain often has deleterious effects on sexual functioning, related either to the noxious stimulus of pain or as a negative consequence of pain management. Common pharmacological approaches and interventional techniques utilized in the treatment of pain have documented effects on sexual functioning. Current treatment strategies offer varying degrees of symptom resolution. Future research is needed to examine the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of chronic pain and medications for pain management on sexual function. Further research is also needed to address the efficacy of treatment options, including combining medical interventions with sexual counseling in the treatment of sexual disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-214
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sex Education and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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