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Psychosexual Therapy – An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Vaginismus

Psychosexual Therapy – An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Vaginismus

Treatment of vaginismus is typically systematic desensitization using graduated vaginal dilators, a form of behaviour therapy. Less often, procedures such as examination under anaesthesia and Fenton’s operations are performed to stretch or cut the "spastic" vaginal muscles. The problem is understood as muscular in origin and the goal of treatment is to make penetrative sex possible.

In contrast, psychosexual therapy conceptualizes vaginismus as a mind-body phenomenon: whilst the symptom is expressed via the body(soma), its origin is in mind(psyche)and body. Because of this understanding, an integrated approach is offered. The aim of therapy goes beyond tolerance of penetration to participation in sex because it is pleasurable as well as pain-free. Case material will be used to illustrate this approach.

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Vaginismus


Female sexual dysfunction as a cause of infertility

Objective: Many patients with female sexual dysfunction (FSD), receive sex therapy wishing to become pregnant through the natural sexual process. However, as many Japanese women in the recent times, tend to postpone their marriage to later years, the potential for FSD subjects to get pregnant through effective sex therapy faces numerous challenges. The author considered the ways in which they may decide on the therapy under these circumstances. 

Distress and treatment seeking for vulvodynia and vaginismus.

This research aims to explore the interplay between distress and treatment seeking for women with genital pain. It is estimated that 15% of women experience dyspareunia. A compounding factor in the detection and management of dyspareunia is distress. Higher levels of distress are associated with the desire to seek treatment however there is little research exploring the interplay between distress and treatment seeking behaviours. Eleven women with genital pain completed the Female Sexual Distress Scale and two semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Data is also being collected through a qualitative on-line questionnaire. Charmazian Grounded Theory methodology is being used to analyse the data in order to develop a substantive grounded theory.

Sex Therapy for Sexual Pain: Does it Make Sense?

The so-called “sexual pain” disorders, vaginismus and dyspareunia, have been treated quite differently in the past. Women suffering from vaginismus were typically treated via a Masters & Johnson progressive dilatation method. Until recently, this type of treatment was considered a sex therapy success story. On the other hand, women suffering from dyspareunia, were rarely treated via sex therapy but were typically either referred for medical intervention or for treatment of a presumed underlying psychosocial cause for their pain (e.g. abuse, couple dysfunction, depression etc).