Vaginismus Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

There are a plethora of reasons why romantic relationships crumble and break, never begin, or are never even attempted. Perhaps the woman is much too needy, or possibly the man is still far too attached to his mother. Maybe it is because the scrawny boy with the inhaler could never muster up the courage to reveal his true feelings to the woman of his dreams. What about the superficial, designer label clad woman who takes her partner for granted and loses him? Could it be because of the young frat boy who cannot bear to remain monogamous? A multitude of stereotypes could be inserted here to describe the various reasons relationships are unsuccessful, but there is an obscure group of individuals whose relationship troubles stem from a much more deeply seated issue. This group of people is suffering from sexual dysfunctions, and these disorders tend to be constant struggle without treatment and end up affecting many aspects of people’s lives.
Sexual dysfunctions “are characterized by disturbance in sexual desire and in the psychophysiological changes that characterize the sexual response cycle and cause marked distress and interpersonal difficulty” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 535). Sexual Pain Disorders are classified as a category of sexual dysfunctions by the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Vaginismus and dyspareunia are the only two sexual pain disorders, and vaginismus is the only one unique to the female gender. Vaginismus is a disorder that has been identified in women for hundreds of years now. The first written records about vaginismus date back to the 11th century, and it was documented in 1861 by a scientist called Sims. He recorded details about a woman who was married for 25 years who was still a virgin. Upon gynecological examination he found that even his most delicate touch caused an intense reaction and great physical pain. Sims was only able to insert a finger into the woman’s vagina after a few minutes of rigorous thrusting. He described the great resistance of her vagina and the rigidity of the muscle contractions as very difficult to overcome (Hera Women’s Health Center, 2009). In 1909, a scientist by the name of Walthard questioned Sims’ concepts and thought the vaginal contractions were caused by the woman’s intense fear of pain. He then proposed the idea of psychotherapy and education as an alternative to procedures used to “widen” the vaginal canal (Hera Women’s Health Center, 2009). Next, Faure and Sireday discovered that vaginismus was an “involuntary, painful, spasmodic contraction of the vulvo-vaginal channel due to extreme sensitivity to the gential organs” (Hera Women’s Health Center, 2009).
Today, vaginismus is better understood and diagnosed. It appears to affect mostly younger women, women with negative attitudes toward sex, and/or in women who are survivors of sexual abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 557). The DSM-IV-TR states, “The essential...

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