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Arch Sex Behav. 2007 Dec;36(6):831-43. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Predictors of genital pain in young women.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, McGill University, MontrĂ©al, Quebec, Canada.


Despite the high prevalence of genital pain in healthy young adult women, limited research has addressed genital pain during intercourse using contemporary models of multidimensional sexual function. The objectives of this study were threefold: (1) to identify differences in sexual functioning in women who experience genital pain compared to pain free women; (2) to identify predictors of sexual functioning in women with and without genital pain; and (3) to identify predictors of sexual satisfaction in women with and without genital pain. Sexually active female undergraduates (n = 651) were administered the Female Sexual Function Index and the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory. We evaluated the sexual factors that impact the sexual function of women with any pain (including high and low pain groups) versus women with no history of pain. Women with genital pain reported greater rates of sexual dysfunction as compared to pain-free women; however, sexual functioning in the high versus low pain groups was distinguished primarily by vaginal lubrication. Women in the high pain group showed negative correlations between domains of sexual satisfaction and genital pain frequency and intensity that were not found in the low pain group. 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. The evaluation of levels of genital pain may provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the impairment of sexual function, sexual behavior, and sexual satisfaction.

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