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Vaginismus and Dyspareunia: Relationship with General and Sex-Related Moral Standards

Authors

  • Charmaine Borg MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Peter J. de Jong PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Willibrord Weijmar Schultz MD, PhD

    1. Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, the Netherlands
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Charmaine Borg, MSc, Clinical and Experimental Psychopathology, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712TS Groningen, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 (0) 50363 6599; E-mail: c.borg@rug.nl

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Relatively strong adherence to conservative values and/or relatively strict sex-related moral standards logically restricts the sexual repertoire and will lower the threshold for experiencing negative emotions in a sexual context. In turn, this may generate withdrawal and avoidance behavior, which is at the nucleus of vaginismus.

Aim.  To examine whether indeed strong adherence to conservative morals and/or strict sexual standards may be involved in vaginismus.

Main Outcome Measures.  The Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) to investigate the individual's value pattern and the Sexual Disgust Questionnaire (SDQ) to index the willingness to perform certain sexual activities as an indirect measure of sex-related moral standards.

Methods.  The SVS and SDQ were completed by three groups: women diagnosed with vaginismus (N = 24), a group of women diagnosed with dyspareunia (N = 24), and a healthy control group of women without sexual complaints (N = 32).

Results.  Specifically, the vaginismus group showed relatively low scores on liberal values together with comparatively high scores on conservative values. Additionally, the vaginismus group was more restricted in their readiness to perform particular sex-related behaviors than the control group. The dyspareunia group, on both the SVS and the SDQ, placed between the vaginismus and the control group, but not significantly different than either of the groups.

Conclusions.  The findings are consistent with the view that low liberal and high conservative values, along with restricted sexual standards, are involved in the development/maintenance of vaginismus. Borg C, de Jong PJ, and Weijmar Schultz W. Vaginismus and dyspareunia: Relationship with general and sex-related moral standards. J Sex Med 2011;8:223–231.

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