Qualitative research on infertile Chinese couples' understanding of sexuality
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© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. Background. Family physicians play an important role in the initial counselling and evaluation of infertility. Despite infertility regarded as a stressor and a life crisis for individuals or couples, little is known about the psychosexual aspects of infertility. On the basis that sexuality is a crucial part of quality of life, it is worthwhile to give more attention to sexuality of infertile couples during their time of experiencing infertility. Objective. This study aimed to gain insight into the dynamic features of the sexuality of infertile couples and to provide meaningful evidence for improving their quality of life. Methods. We employed a qualitative approach to conduct this study. Utilizing purposive sampling method, 56 participants (28 infertile Chinese couples) were recruited from the reproductive medicine centre of a general hospital, and in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the transcripts. Results. Four themes emerged from the respondents' narratives; these themes relate to the infertile couples' understanding of sexuality: (i) gender identity, (ii) communication about sex, (iii) sexual life and (iv) sexual satisfaction. It was further found that Chinese culture's values of fertility, perceptions about sexuality and sex, social norms regarding gender, and expectations about marital sexual life can have significant effects on infertile Chinese couples' sexuality. Conclusion. These findings should be highly considered by family physicians in their practice to provide infertile couples with information related to sexual well-being, coping styles, relationship, etc.
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