Perez-Garcia, Luis Fernando, Esther Röder, Hester Pastoor, Johanna M Bolt, Job van Exel, & Radboud J E M Dolhain (2021, September). It is not just about sex: Viewpoints of men with inflammatory arthritis on the overall impact of the disease on their sexual health. RMD Open: Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Diseases, 7(3), e001821. (Open Access: https://rmdopen.bmj.com/content/7/3/e001821)

Abstract: Objectives: Sexual health is defined as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. The impact of inflammatory arthritis (IA) on male sexual health has been mainly studied focusing on erectile function, one of the physical components of sexual health. Our objective was to describe the viewpoints among men with IA in the Netherlands on the overall impact of IA on their sexual health. Methods: Q-methodology, a mixed methods approach to systematically study subjectivity, was used. Adult men diagnosed with IA ranked 34 opinion statements about potential impacts of IA on their sexual health and were interviewed. By-person factor analysis was used to identify common patterns in the rankings, which were interpreted as viewpoints. Data from the interviews were used to verify and adjust the interpretations. Results: 30 men (22-77 years) with IA were included. The analysis revealed three viewpoints. Men with the viewpoint ‘Arthritis negatively affects my sexual health’ experience a dramatic impact on all components of sexual health. In viewpoint ‘I am keeping up appearances’, IA negatively impacts sexual health but a distinguishing coping mechanism could mask a more serious negative impact. Men with the viewpoint ‘I am satisfied with my sexual health” experience no significant impact of IA on their sexual health. Conclusions: We identified three viewpoints on the impact of IA on male sexual health, two revealed a negative influence that goes beyond the physical act of sex. IA can severely affect the emotional, mental and social components of sexual health.

Luis Fernando Perez-Garcia <l.perez@erasmusmc.nl> is in the Department of Rheumatology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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