Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
Fybomyalgia is a chronic, painful disease which, in some people, has no identified cause. The physical effects are obvious and it also has severe psychological consequences such as depression. However, in the words of these authors from Spain: '(a)lthough concerns related to sexuality are commonly reported, research has tended to focus on the physical symptoms.'
The study is by Matarín Jiménez et al (2017), titled: 'Perceptions about the sexuality of women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a phenomenological study' and publshed in JAN. The aim of the study was: 'to explore and understand the perceptions and experiences of women with fibromyalgia syndrome regarding their sexuality.' The researchers interviewed 13 women and found that sexual activity could be painful. As one woman said: 'Sometimes you have to say, ‘Stop, stop, . . .you’re hurting me, I can’t do it’. Or he holds you and . . . ‘Ow, you’re hurting me!’' Anticipating such pain made contemplating sexual intercourse difficult and another woman said: 'I had a lot of discomfort doing it (coitus), some pain here (vulva) and I didn’t have one (an orgasm). I was very nervous, I couldn’t relax, I wasn’t enjoying it. How can you always explain that? It’s like...it’s a bit ridiculous.'
The authors pointed to one difficulty in conducting this kind of research which was: 'The implementation of Catholic morality in Spain makes sexuality a subject that is scarcely addressed in healthcare services.' In conclusion, they said: 'Guilt and fear have an impact on female sexuality, which becomes focused on pleasing the partner who, while desiring the woman, does not understand her.´and: '(i)n their battle to preserve their sexual health, women require support and understanding from their partner, their socio-family environment and from health professionals.'
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MATARÍN JIMÉNEZ T.M., FERNÁNDEZ-SOLA C., HERNÁNDEZ- PADI L LA J .M., CORREA CASADO M., ANTEQUERA RAYNAL L.H. & GRANEROMOLINA J. (2017) Perceptions about the sexuality of women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a phenomenological study. Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.13262