Due to the lack of evidence about how genital pain affects the experience of sexual satisfaction, it would be useful to evaluate how the factors that predict levels of sexual satisfaction in women with dyspareunia differ from those found in pain-free women. In order to evaluate the importance of psychological factors, sexual behavior, sexual satisfaction, and sexual dysfunction in young women with different levels of genital pain, the current research was designed to accomplish three aims: Because women with dyspareunia tend to be younger Laumann et al. Scores were used to classify women into three groups: In line with past research, we hypothesized that women with any genital pain were more likely to report poor sexual function, more conservative sexual attitudes, and less sexual satisfaction when compared with pain-free women. When painful sexual experiences perpetuate fear and expectations of pain during sexual activity, a woman may choose to avoid sexual behavior altogether. Coding procedures assigned yes 1 or no 0 values to each domain, and group averages were obtained.
Sixty three percent of sexually active women reported any history of genital pain during intercourse. Testing took place in unoccupied computer laboratories and classrooms, and participants were separated by a minimum of 5 feet to maximize privacy. All participants were aware of the sensitive nature of the questionnaire material before testing. The Experience Scale has shown high internal consistency. Most evidence on dyspareunia in young adult women has been limited to samples of women with VVS e. Pain groups were categorized using an index score that reflected frequency and intensity of genital pain during and after intercourse see Sexual Functioning for a detailed description of this index. In summary, little is known about what types of sexual experience may have contributed to the fear reported by women with dyspareunia. The SOI was designed to measure individual differences in the endorsement of restricted sexual behaviors and attitudes i. It is also possible that this fear predated the genital pain or has been maintained by persistent pain during sexual activity. The majority of our current knowledge about psychological factors in dyspareunia is based on premenopausal women with a mean age of 30 or above reviewed in Basson et al. Due to the lack of evidence about how genital pain affects the experience of sexual satisfaction, it would be useful to evaluate how the factors that predict levels of sexual satisfaction in women with dyspareunia differ from those found in pain-free women. Participants endorsed the number of individuals with whom they had engaged in foreplay within the past year and the lifetime number of individuals with whom they had engaged in sexual intercourse. The objectives of this study were threefold: However, there is reason to expect a strong psychological component in the experience of genital pain. For pain-free women, intercourse played a strong role in sexual satisfaction, whereas non-intercourse sexual behavior was central to sexual satisfaction in women who reported pain. In contrast to masturbation, self-reported sexual problems and distress during sexual intercourse were significantly greater in these women. In addition to SOI questions, the authors included two related unrestricted sexuality items. It was emphasized that if participants experienced discomfort or distress during testing, then they were encouraged to pause or stop participation. Existing evidence suggests that sexual satisfaction of women with dyspareunia is lower in comparison with control women Danielsson et al. The evaluation of levels of genital pain may provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the impairment of sexual function, sexual behavior, and sexual satisfaction. When significant main effects were found, the Games-Howell post-hoc test for unequal group sizes and unequal variances was performed on the no, low, and high groups. Evidence supports many of these interpretations. Due to past findings that women with dyspareunia have exhibited normal sexual arousal during masturbation and in the laboratory setting, we predicted that women with high levels of pain would report equal levels of non-intercourse sexual behavior including masturbation, petting, and oral sex and lower levels of intercourse as compared to women without pain. This fear may be due to a number of factors, including the anticipation of pain based on past painful sexual experiences, past sexual trauma, dysfunctional sexual schema the mental framework with which one understands sexuality , or negative sexual attitudes. Lower scores indicated greater pain during sexual intercourse. It is possible that women with dyspareunia are capable of a normal sexual response—during masturbation and in the laboratory—and the act of sexual intercourse may be the primary aversive stimulus that drives inhibited sexual function. Women who are sexually dissatisfied may seek sexual expression through means independent of intercourse with a primary partner, such as self-stimulation or extra-pair sexual activity Bridges et al.
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