Cultural Differences in the Treatment of Sex Problems

  • Kathryn S. K. HallEmail author
Clinical Therapeutics (B McCarthy and R Segraves, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Clinical Therapeutics
  2. Topical Collection on Clinical Therapeutics


Purpose of Review

The high global prevalence of sexual problems requires treatments that are adapted for use with people from diverse cultures. The process of cultural adaptation starts with a culturally informed understanding of the target problem (sexual disorders) as well as a recognition of cultural beliefs that may act as barriers to treatment. The purpose of this review is to integrate recent cross-cultural research on sexual problems and treatment and to provide a current perspective on the practice of sex therapy with culturally diverse patients.

Recent Findings

Sex research is expanding globally to critically examine the culturally influenced pathways that lead to sexual dissatisfaction. Female sexual pleasure and sexual agency appear to be important factors contributing to the sexual satisfaction of men and women worldwide. This conjecture is based on a small but growing number of studies.


The belief that female sexual pleasure is dangerous, undesirable, or irrelevant may contribute to the high global prevalence of sexual dissatisfaction. Interventions that target improvement in women’s sexual agency may have the added benefit of relieving the intense pressure some men experience to perform sexually with naïve or passive partners when they themselves have little knowledge, skills, or experience. Sex therapy approaches that emphasize the benefit of female sexual pleasure to the sexual satisfaction of the couple may find success even in the context of traditional cultures.


Sex therapy Culture Cultural competence Sexual pleasure Sexual dysfunction 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent PracticePrincetonUSA

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