Female and Male Sexual Dysfunctions
How frequent are sexual problems? How do they present themselves? Are there groups of people that are at a higher risk for sexual problems? What are the underlying causes? Broadly, our goal is to understand how a variety of biopsychosocial factors contribute to the development and maintenance of sexual problems and dysfunctions in men and women. Obtaining answers to these and other questions will eventually help us establish effective management and treatment approaches to help people suffering from the consequences of these problems.
Genetics and Heritability
We are considered the international experts in genetic epidemiologic research on female sexual dysfunctions and are closely working with several twin registries around the globe, including the TwinsUK cohort (London, United Kingdom), to understand how genetic variation relates to human sexual behavior and problems. We have published over 30 scientific studies on this topic and have collaborated with international research groups to identify genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the most common sexual problems (e.g., hypoactive desire disorder, orgasm problems, arousal disorder).
Relationships—whether romantic, platonic, or intimate—present complex questions and there a multitude of factors that can shape and influence a relationship. Our goal is to understand more about these factors. How do, for example, sexual problems affect the relationship? What is the effect of hormones like oxytocin on love and bonding? How do people experience various relationship contexts—whether single, partnered, monogamous, or sexually open?
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is an acquired fibrotic disorder often leading to penile deformities reesulting in penile curvature, shortening, and narrowing. The condition has detrimental effects on the sexual and overall quality of life in men and yet, not much is known about the origins of the disease and there are currently no established standardized treatment guidelines. Our aim is to further explore the impact of PD on the patients and their partners (sexual function, satisfaction and relationship quality), as well as to investigate current strategies in the management of PD across Europe and to explore effectiveness and patients’ satisfaction with a recently established multimodal treatment approach for PD.
Chronic Genital Pain
We’re working on clinical chronic pain syndromes mostly in gynaecology and reproduction, including dyspareunia, genital pain, and vaginism but also other conditions such as chronic widespread pain and fibromyalgia. Our aim is to identify risk (and resiliency) factors that mediate the change from acute to chronic pain with a special focus on genetic and epigenetic variants predisposing to these syndromes.
Some people experience negative affect after sexual intercourse - a phenomenon termed “postcoital dysphoria (PCD)”. This condition is characterized by inexplicable feelings of tearfulness, sadness, and/or irritability. Unfortunately, next to nothing is known about the condition in terms of what are the most common symptoms, do they differ in men and women and what causes this specific condition. Our aim is to learn more about symptom manifestation, prevalence, gender differences, as well as to develop a questionnaire that will provide a standardized measure to further explore PCD and ensure the comparability of the findings across studies (see current research)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Our aim is to bring forward our knowledge of variations in sexual orientation and gender identity by conducting research on behavior and sexual wellness with particular foci on biology and psychology.