Mindfulness based approaches for managing sexual concerns and genital pain in women (3CEs)


Presented by Lori Brotto, PhD



Summary of workshop:

Sex in a multi-tasking world has become distracted, pressured, and difficult. Rates of sexual dysfunction in men and women are high, and discrepant sexual desire in couples represents one of the most common causes for seeking sex therapy. For women, there is only one FDA approved medication, Addyi, and it only marginally increases sexual desire levels above placebo. Mindfulness meditation, defined as present-moment, non-judgmental awareness, has become a prominent tool in Western healthcare for a wide range of medical and psychological ailments, from pain to anxiety to tinnitus. Over the past decade, my team and I have been applying and testing mindfulness-based interventions for women with low sexual desire, and the empirical findings strongly point to a beneficial effect of group mindfulness interventions on sexual function, mood, relationship satisfaction, and sex-related distress. In this talk, I will review the science and practice of mindfulness as it has been applied to cultivating sexual desire in women.  Ample time will be spent practicing the same mindfulness exercises we use in our groups.


  1. To describe what is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  2. To review the empirical evidence for mindfulness as it has been applied to sexual dysfunction
  3. To discuss mechanisms underlying the purported benefits of mindfulness for women’s sexual difficulties and genital pain
  4. To gain experiential practice in mindfulness-based skills
  5. To understand the role of the 3 levels of inquiry and to practice during the workshop
  6. To discuss where to go from here in regards to additional training for the health care provider

Part 1, noon – 12:30

Overview of what is mindfulness

  • Definition
  • Evolution
  • Efficacy in common populations
  • Why did we apply mindfulness to sexual difficulties?

Patient recordings of why mindfulness is relevant

Practicing together and Inquiry

Part 2, 12:30 – 1:15

History of mindfulness as applied to sexual concerns in cancer survivors

Body Scan

Recordings of patient experiences

Why is nonjudgment especially important?

Part 3, 1:30 – 2:15

Mindfulness for low sexual desire

Outline of the 8 sessions MBCT for low desire

Working with difficulties practice and Inquiry

Sexual sensations recording

Pleasurable Touch 

Part 4, 2:15 – 2:45

Mindfulness for PVD

Eliciting pain practice


Self-compassion exercise

Part 5, 2:45 – 3pm

Sensate focus

Mindfulness in relationships

Mindfulness for situational ED

Treatment manuals