Etiological correlates of vaginismus: sexual and physical abuse, sexual knowledge, sexual self-schema, and relationship adjustment

J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 Jan-Feb;29(1):47-59. doi: 10.1080/713847095.


This study investigated the role of sexual and physical abuse, sexual self-schema, sexual functioning, sexual knowledge, relationship adjustment, and psychological distress in 87 women matched on age, relationship status, and parity and assigned to 3 groups--vaginismus, dyspareunia/vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS), and no pain. More women with vaginismus reported a history of childhood sexual interference, and women in both the vaginismus and VVS groups reported lower levels of sexual functioning and a less positive sexual self-schema. Lack of support for traditionally held hypotheses concerning etiological correlates of vaginismus and the relationship between vaginismus and dyspareunia are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Dyspareunia / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Self Concept*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Social Adjustment*