As part of our ST2023 conference, we are offering you a scientific review on sexualities and technologies.
Valérie Lapointe is a PhD candidate in psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the development of two brief interventions to reconsolidate negative memories. She is also involved in several research projects in sexology on sexual dysfunctions and the use of virtual reality as an intervention and evaluation tool with the Laboratoire d'Étude sur la Réalité virtuelle, les Outils Sexotechnologiques et la Santé sexuelle (EROSS), directed by David Lafortune. She will be present at the ST2023 conference with the EROSS booth.
David Lafortune, PhD, is a psychologist and professor in the Department of Sexology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where he teaches cognitive-behavioural approaches and research methods. His work focuses on sexual aversion, applications of virtual reality in sex therapy and psychological factors associated with sexual dysfunction. He directs the Laboratory (EROSS).
Since the late 1990s, virtual reality has revolutionized the treatment of psychological disorders (e.g. phobias, depression, problematic substance use). Virtual reality-based interventions typically involve exposure exercises during which patients are immersed in virtual environments that simulate the contexts associated with their disorder (e.g. a virtual spider, building rooftop, or airplane cabin in the case of specific phobias) until their symptoms and distress diminish. Although numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of virtual reality to treat psychological disorders, sexological issues have been largely neglected by empirical research. To date, only a few pilot studies have examined the effectiveness of virtual reality-assisted interventions in sexology, namely for erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, genital-pelvic pain, desire disorder and support for victims of sexual assault. In addition, virtual environments have recently been validated for the assessment and treatment of sexual aversion. In conclusion, the emerging scientific literature suggests the high potential of virtual reality to improve the sexual well-being of people living with sexual dysfunction and to address the ethical and clinical challenges limiting the effectiveness of current treatment models.
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