BACKGROUND: Intimate relationships and sexuality are essential to an individual's health and longevity after a myocardial infarction (MI).
AIMS: To explore and compare partnered first-time MI patients' ratings of intimate relationship satisfaction and sexual function before the MI as compared to one year after the event.
METHODS: Longitudinal study with 92 men and 36 women, aged 62.4±9.3 years. Self-reported data was collected one year before, and one year after, the MI.
RESULTS: The majority were sexually active before (86%) as well as after (80%) their MI (ns). High satisfaction was reported with intimate relationships, which were stable over time (Relationship assessment scale score 4.56±0.50 and 4.53±0.52, respectively, ns). No significant differences in intimate relationships between genders were found. Women reported lower ratings in their sexual function than men before the MI (Watts sexual function score 45.92±6.55 and 48.59±4.96, respectively, P<0.05). The year after the event, women described an unchanged sexual function (45.08±7.25), while men (47.10±5.16) had decreased theirs (P<0.05). Both female and male patients enjoyed sexual activity less frequently the subsequent year. Men regarded having sex as being less important in their lives, were less satisfied with the frequency of sexual activity, and felt that they more often ejaculated prematurely the year after the MI.
CONCLUSIONS: Partnered first-time MI patients continue to be sexually active the year after the event, and are highly satisfied with their intimate relationship. While the MI event seems to have a more negative impact on men's sexual functioning than women's, the women still rate their sexual function lower in comparison.
2015. Vol. 14, no 6, 468-477 p.
Gender, myocardial infarction, relationship assessment scale, sexual counselling, Watts sexual function questionnaire