Psychology in Sex and Gender

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 19797

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology and Health Studies, “Sapienza” University, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: sexual desire, genito-pelvic pain, chemsex, consent, addictions, psychometrics, sexual behaviours, BDSM, and sexuality in chronic diseases; sexual behaviour and intersectionality (e.g., LGBTQI+ issues, HIV stigma, chemsex); sexual response models, sexual desire and erotic fantasies; sex-positive approaches applied to research, clinical practice and education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sexuality is a central aspect in all of our lives. When we talk about sex, we are talking about a myriad of meanings, expressions, emotions, bodies, beliefs, and stereotypes that are constantly evolving over time and space. As I often repeat to my students, sexuality is one of those biopsychosocial phenomena where it is possible to meet deep human complexity and subjectivity.

In this sense, in 2006, the WHO recognized sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled”.

Today, it has become even more important to investigate sexual health in an operational form, with a greater positivity and openness (as well as scientific curiosity) towards these issues. The possibility of de-pathologizing certain expressions and including concepts such as fluidity, non-binarism and consent offers an extraordinary opportunity to renew healthcare science, to make it more real, effective and, above all, close to the patient’s needs and wishes.

In this sense, the aim of the Special Issue is to gather new research of any kind (e.g., reviews, meta-analyses, original studies) that have as a key theme the study of (part of) the complex interaction between psychology, sex and gender in their investigations for the improvement of health and quality of life, both in terms of prevention and treatment.

Dr. Filippo Maria Nimbi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sexualities
  • pleasure
  • relationships
  • prevention
  • treatments
  • gender roles
  • LGBTQIA+
  • intersectionality
  • STIs
  • contraception

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 2086 KiB  
Article
Sexual Orientation, Health, and Well-Being in Spanish People
by Roberto Matías and M. Pilar Matud
Healthcare 2024, 12(9), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12090924 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
Although several studies have found disparities in health outcomes between heterosexual and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)-identifying individuals, few studies have focused on subjective well-being and protective factors for health and well-being. The purpose of this work is twofold: (1) to examine the [...] Read more.
Although several studies have found disparities in health outcomes between heterosexual and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)-identifying individuals, few studies have focused on subjective well-being and protective factors for health and well-being. The purpose of this work is twofold: (1) to examine the relevance of sexual orientation to health and well-being in women and men; (2) to identify protective and risk factors for psychological distress, self-rated health, and well-being for gay men, lesbian women, bisexual women and men, and heterosexual women and men. The sample consisted of 908 women and 586 men from the general Spanish population aged 16–64, half of whom identified themselves as LGB and half as heterosexual. All were assessed using eight questionnaires and inventories. The results showed that differences varied depending on the health indicator considered. In general, bisexuals had the poorest health, with lower self-rated health and lower self-esteem. In all groups, self-esteem was a protective factor against psychological distress and was associated with better health and well-being. To a lesser extent, social support served as a protective factor against psychological distress and was associated with greater well-being in all groups. It is concluded that although sexual orientation is relevant to the health and well-being of individuals, there are differences among sexual minorities, with bisexuals having lower self-esteem than homosexuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
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10 pages, 233 KiB  
Article
Internalized Homonegativity and Sexual Quality of Life in Italian Lesbian and Bisexual Women
by Sofia Pavanello Decaro and Antonio Prunas
Healthcare 2024, 12(6), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12060638 - 12 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 717
Abstract
This study investigates the relationship between sexual quality of life (SQoL) and internalized homonegativity among Italian lesbian and bisexual cisgender women, drawing on the minority stress model. The aim of this study is to compare levels of internalized homonegativity and SQoL between the [...] Read more.
This study investigates the relationship between sexual quality of life (SQoL) and internalized homonegativity among Italian lesbian and bisexual cisgender women, drawing on the minority stress model. The aim of this study is to compare levels of internalized homonegativity and SQoL between the two groups, exploring the association between these variables. We used a quantitative methodology based on a questionnaire. The data were collected through an online questionnaire from 686 women, including 217 lesbians and 469 bisexuals, using the Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale and the Female-Sexual Quality of Life Questionnaire. Statistical analyses, including t-tests and linear regression, were performed to assess group differences and predictors of SQoL. The findings support the hypothesis that bisexual women may experience higher levels of internalized homonegativity. Additionally, the study reveals disparities in SQoL, with lesbian women reporting better outcomes. The linear regression model confirmed a significant negative association between internalized homonegativity and SQoL. The results highlight the need for further research on factors influencing sexual well-being in sexual minority women, and the need to give thorough attention to specific sexual identities in clinical and research practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
12 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Gender Identity Orientation and Sexual Activity—A Survey among Transgender and Gender-Diverse (TGD) Individuals in Norway
by Elsa Mari Almås, Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, Silje-Håvard Bolstad, Tor-Ivar Karlsen and Alain Giami
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040482 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 867
Abstract
Background: The understanding and conceptualizing of gender and sexuality are continuously negotiated between individuals and cultures. Recently, new gender identity orientations have emerged, fighting pathologization and establishing new spaces and options for being sexually active gendered beings. Objective: To investigate variations in sexual [...] Read more.
Background: The understanding and conceptualizing of gender and sexuality are continuously negotiated between individuals and cultures. Recently, new gender identity orientations have emerged, fighting pathologization and establishing new spaces and options for being sexually active gendered beings. Objective: To investigate variations in sexual activities across different gender identity orientations. Method: A questionnaire used in France was adapted to the Norwegian context and implemented in this study. The participants were recruited through therapists, TGD organizations, and social media. Results: A total of 538 individuals responded to the questionnaire, of which 336 provided a written description of their gender identity. Based on an analysis of the degree of male gender identity orientation, the degree of female gender identity orientation, and the degree of nonbinary gender identity orientation, three clusters appeared and were used in the analyses of sexual activities and preferences. Conclusions: Some findings could be attributed to lingering aspects of traditional gender roles, while others may be indicative of sexual expression stemming from societal acceptance of gender diversity and new identity orientations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
19 pages, 1442 KiB  
Article
Exploring Gender Diversity in Transgender and Non-Binary Adults Accessing a Specialized Service in Italy
by Marta Mirabella, Bianca Di Giannantonio, Guido Giovanardi, Irene Piras, Alessandra D. Fisher, Vittorio Lingiardi, Luca Chianura, Jiska Ristori, Anna Maria Speranza and Alexandro Fortunato
Healthcare 2023, 11(15), 2150; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11152150 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
In Italy, studies investigating gender identity and expression in gender non-conforming adults are lacking, as well as data regarding the non-binary population. The present study aimed at dimensionally exploring how transgender and non-binary Italian adults identify and express their gender. The Gender Diversity [...] Read more.
In Italy, studies investigating gender identity and expression in gender non-conforming adults are lacking, as well as data regarding the non-binary population. The present study aimed at dimensionally exploring how transgender and non-binary Italian adults identify and express their gender. The Gender Diversity Questionnaire (GDQ) was administered to a sample of 112 adult subjects aged 18–60 years accessing a gender-specialized service in Rome. The majority of the participants were aged 18–24 years (53.6%), whereas fewer subjects were aged 25–35 years (32%) and 35 years and older (14.3%). Most participants (83.9%) identified themselves as trans binary, while the remaining (16.1%) identified as non-binary. Trans binary participants reported a stable gender identity, whereas non-binary participants reported a more fluid gender identity over time and across contexts. Younger subjects recognized the use of chosen names, pronouns, and clothes as important for their gender expression, whereas older subjects attributed more importance to physical appearance and emotions. Differences regarding gender-affirmative interventions emerged between non-binary and transbinary participants. Findings evidence that gender non-conforming adults accessing gender-specialized services have unique needs and features, thus it is essential to shed light on this population by providing greater visibility and recognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
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10 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
Family Attachment, Sexuality, and Sexual Recidivism in a Sample of Italian Sexual Offenders: Preliminary Results
by Valeria Saladino, Stefano Eleuteri, Angela Nuzzi and Valeria Verrastro
Healthcare 2023, 11(11), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11111586 - 29 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1295
Abstract
Objective: The research aims to investigate family communication regarding sexuality and the possible link between insecure attachment, violence in relationships, and the tendency toward sexual sensation-seeking in a sample of Italian sexual offenders. Design and method: We evaluated 29 male sexual offenders in [...] Read more.
Objective: The research aims to investigate family communication regarding sexuality and the possible link between insecure attachment, violence in relationships, and the tendency toward sexual sensation-seeking in a sample of Italian sexual offenders. Design and method: We evaluated 29 male sexual offenders in two correctional facilities of Southern Lazio (Italy) (mean age = 40.76; SD = 11.16). The participants completed general questions about their family and sexual education and fulfilled the following questionnaires: Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory (CSBI), Sexual Sensation-seeking Scale (SSSS), and the High-Risk Situation Checklist, adapted in Italian, as well as the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ), validated in Italian. Results: Most of the participants had never talked about sex within their family and perceived a severe or abusive education during childhood. In addition, positive correlations emerged between SSSS and the two scales of the CSBI, as well as between insecure attachment style, CSBI, and sexual sensation-seeking. The participants also reported some critical issues regarding the personal perception of high-risk situations linked to sexual relapse. Conclusions: The data suggest factors to investigate, such as family education and relationships and the personal perception of sexual recidivism. The results might be effective in treatment and prevention programs among sex offenders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
21 pages, 794 KiB  
Article
Sexual Desire and Erotic Fantasies Questionnaire: The Development and Validation of the Erotic Fantasy Use Scale (SDEF2) on Experience, Attitudes, and Sharing Issues
by Filippo Maria Nimbi, Roberta Galizia, Erika Limoncin, Tom Levy, Emmanuele Angelo Jannini, Chiara Simonelli and Renata Tambelli
Healthcare 2023, 11(8), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11081159 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6306
Abstract
Background: The investigation of sexual fantasies is a delicate issue within sex research. Most studies have focused on the content of these fantasies, rather than on use, experiences, attitudes, and sharing issues, which are fundamental aspects within sexual therapy. The main aim of [...] Read more.
Background: The investigation of sexual fantasies is a delicate issue within sex research. Most studies have focused on the content of these fantasies, rather than on use, experiences, attitudes, and sharing issues, which are fundamental aspects within sexual therapy. The main aim of the present study was to develop and validate the “Sexual Desire and Erotic Fantasies questionnaire-Part 2. Use of Erotic Fantasies (SDEF2)”. Methods: The SDEF2 was completed by 1773 Italian participants (1105 women, 645 men, and 23 other genders). Results: The final 21-item version presented a five-factor structure (fantasies frequency, fantasies normality, fantasies importance, negative emotions, and sharing and experiencing). The SDEF2 showed good psychometric properties, internal reliability, construct, and discriminant validity, appearing to be able to differentiate between sexually clinical and functional women and men (based on the FSFI and IIEF cut-off scores). Conclusions: The possibility of assessing fantasies frequency, attitudes, and emotions may be extremely useful both for research and clinical purposes. The current study seems to validate that the SDEF2 is a useful measure of assessing the different aspects related to a fantasizing activity, which was shown to be associated with sexual functioning and satisfaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
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29 pages, 1035 KiB  
Article
Sexual Desire and Erotic Fantasies Questionnaire: Validation of the Erotic Fantasy Inventory Scale (SDEF3) in Italian Adults
by Filippo Maria Nimbi, Roberta Galizia, Lilybeth Fontanesi, Seray Soyman, Emmanuele Angelo Jannini, Chiara Simonelli and Renata Tambelli
Healthcare 2023, 11(6), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11060880 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5740
Abstract
Background: Erotic fantasies are the most common sexual experiences and provide valuable clinical material for understanding individual and relational emotional dynamics. The primary objective of this study is to validate the Sexual Desire and Erotic Fantasies questionnaire (SDEF) Part 3–Inventory of Erotic Fantasies. [...] Read more.
Background: Erotic fantasies are the most common sexual experiences and provide valuable clinical material for understanding individual and relational emotional dynamics. The primary objective of this study is to validate the Sexual Desire and Erotic Fantasies questionnaire (SDEF) Part 3–Inventory of Erotic Fantasies. This questionnaire was designed to be a sex-positive and inclusive measure of the content of erotic fantasies, accessible to individuals of all gender identities, sexual orientations, relationship/romantic status, and sexual behaviors. Methods: The SDEF3 was completed by 1773 Italian participants (1105 women, 645 men, and 23 participants identifying as other genders). Two factorial structures were presented and discussed: a 20-dimension structure for clinical and explorative use and a 6-dimension structure for research purposes. Results: The six-factor version was preferred due to its robust statistical properties and its ability to differentiate between sexually clinical and functional men and women, based on cut-off scores from the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). Differences in the frequency of themes in fantasies between gender and sexual orientation were reported and discussed. Conclusions: The current study indicates that the SDEF3 is a valuable and comprehensive measure for assessing various scenarios related to fantasizing activity. It has potential applications in both clinical practice and scientific research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
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12 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Fear Related to COVID-19, Mental Health Issues, and Predictors of Insomnia among Female Nursing College Students during the Pandemic
by Zainab Fatehi Albikawi
Healthcare 2023, 11(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11020174 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2183
Abstract
Fear of infection has been sparked by the advent of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Insomnia in college students, especially its correlations and predictions with mental diseases, remains a research concern. Aim: To estimate the prevalence of fear related to COVID-19, depression, anxiety, [...] Read more.
Fear of infection has been sparked by the advent of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Insomnia in college students, especially its correlations and predictions with mental diseases, remains a research concern. Aim: To estimate the prevalence of fear related to COVID-19, depression, anxiety, and insomnia among female nursing college students throughout the pandemic and to determine the predictors of insomnia. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional descriptive study used 145 female nursing college students. Results: Students reported fear related to COVID-19, depression, and anxiety at rates of 79.3%, 30.2%, and 35.2%, respectively. Insomnia disturbed 24.7% of students. Anxiety predicted worsening insomnia in the student (AOR = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.92–0.97, p < 0.001). Fear related to COVID-19 was also a predictor (AOR = 0.96, 95% CI: 1.07–1.21, p < 0.05). Additionally, when depression severity declined, the chance of insomnia improved (AOR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.85–0.91, p < 0.001). Insomnia was more common in chronically unwell students (AOR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.01–2.24, p < 0.05). Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, university students’ mental health should be monitored, and all essential safeguards should be taken, including resource allocation, awareness raising efforts, and the building of a mental health counseling facility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
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