Smartphone-Based Therapeutic Exercises for Men Affected by Premature Ejaculation: A Pilot Study
Authors: Optale G., Burigat S., Chittaro L., Riva G.
Published in: Sexual Medicine, vol. 8, no. 3, September 2020, pp. 461-471.
Abstract: Introduction: Smartphone-delivered healthcare interventions allow patients to access services on demand when needed, improving motivation and compliance. However, the use of mobile health apps has been scarcely explored in sexual medicine. Aim: To evaluate the effects of integrating psychological treatment for premature ejaculation (PE) with a mobile coaching app that offers therapeutic exercises on the patient’s smartphone. Methods: This study comprised 35 heterosexual men with primary psychogenic PE (mean age 34 years, standard deviation = 9.15). All patients entered a cycle of 15 sessions of psychodynamic psychotherapy integrating behavioral therapy, each lasting about 45 minutes. The patients were randomly assigned to 2 groups, each of which performed daily homework exercises (physiotherapy exercises for reinforcing the pelvic floor muscles and cognitive exercises for distancing from sexual failure.) The first group (15 patients) received verbal and printed instructions only (treatment as usual—TAU), whereas the second group (17 patients) experienced the exercises with guidance from the mobile app (app). In both groups, the exercises started after the seventh session. Patients were advised to perform the exercises 3 times a day for 3 months. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measures were the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool and the Premature Ejaculation Profile. Results: Analysis of the data revealed significant pre-post improvements in Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool and Premature Ejaculation Profile scores for the app group compared with those of the TAU group (P < .01). The frequency of patients with no-PE condition for the app group after treatment was significantly higher than the frequency of patients with no-PE condition for the TAU group (P < .001). Conclusion: Results suggest that a mobile coaching app performs better than TAU in improving both the behavioral skills of ejaculatory delay and sexual self-confidence within a psychological treatment for PE. Future studies should collect follow-up data and explore the potential of mobile coaching apps in combined pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy interventions.