After many years of conducting research on eating disorders and body-image, I have recently begun a new line of research on the effectiveness of self-help interventions. By way of brief background, self-help therapies are widely used by the American public and increasingly utilized by psychologists as an adjunct to treatment. Additionally, more people read self-help books or garner advice from the internet than utilize the services of mental health professionals. Individuals with sexual concerns are particularly likely to turn to self-help.
Despite the high percentage of Americans who seek self-help, an estimated 95% of all self-help books are published without evidence of their efficacy or safety, and 99% of internet sites are launched without such evidence. Unproven self-help treatments can be benign at best and harmful at worst. It is important to have effective and accessible forms of treatments so that ability to pay does not comprise a barrier to receiving needed assistance. The need for empirically evaluated self-help is of paramount importance.
I have recently conducted a series of studies on the efficacy of a self-help for low sexual desire in women. In all of these studies, the book under investigation was my own book, A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex. The first study tested the efficacy of this book to increase sexual desire and other aspects of sexual functioning by comparing women who read the book to those in a control group. Subsequent studies, conducted with my graduate students, compared the book to: a) another self-help book on this same topic, b) a placebo pill; and c) an erotic fiction novel.
Along with my graduate students, additional studies on the effectiveness of bibliotherapy for sexual functioning functioning have been conducted or are underway. One of my students is planning a study to examine the effectiveness of my upcoming book, Becoming Cliterate, on increasing millennial women’s rate of orgasms (both alone and with partners), as well as their sexual communication skills and their feelings of sexual empowerment and genital pride. Previously, one of my students examined the effectiveness of the well-known book I Love Female Orgasm to enhance college women’s sexual functioning. Additionally, other graduate students have studied the efficacy of bibliotherapy for two additional common psychological concerns: poor body-image and perfectionism. Another student is in the process of examining the effectiveness of a media intervention to examine women’s rates of orgasms and sexual satisfaction. In short, my students and I are immersed in a program of research examining the effectiveness of a variety of innovative, self-help, and/or media-based interventions.
For a complete listing of Dr. Mintz’s published research, see her CV.