19    Sex and the Sciences

Het mysterie van de seksuele aantrekkelijkheid
Peter De Cleen
- 6 reacties

De erotisering van Barbie
Merle Gosewinkel

Seks en erotiek in hindoeïsme en boeddhisme
Paul van der Velde
- 5 reacties

De tragische paradox der driften
Marianne Mann
- 2 reacties

Disgust and Vaginismus
Charmaine Borg en Peter de Jong
- 13 reacties

Pedofilie: lastige lusten
Karin Visser
- 3 reacties

colofon  issn 1879-8144  4 maart 2009

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Vrouwen met de seksuele stoornis vaginisme hebben een zodanige afkeer van seks dat de gespierde wand van de vagina zeer sterk kan samentrekken. Deze samentrekking is zo krachtig dat penetratie, zelfs het inbrengen van een tampon, bijna onmogelijk wordt. In dit artikel zet Charmaine Borg de hypothese uiteen dat deze bijzondere afkeer van seks sterk verband houdt met de emotie 'walging'.

Charmaine Borg doet als PhD-student onderzoek naar walging en seksuele disfuncties onder leiding van prof. dr. P.J. de Jong, professor in Experimentele psychopathologie op de Universiteit van Groningen.

Dit is een Engelstalig artikel.

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Disgust and Vaginismus

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written by Charmaine Borg and Peter de Jong

'...Disgust is a very strong feeling that takes over any other feeling or emotion. It brings about the feeling of dirt (personally) stretching from any crawling insects to people. For some... the two (disgust and sex) are viewed as one.' Angie C

'In my personal experience I describe the sex as simply disgusting. Have you ever felt a crawling insect crawling on your hands while you are sleeping on a low mattress on a breezy summer night while camping? Insects crawl in a very slow pace but they are there and when you realize they are on your body, Mr. Insect would have already toured an extensive part of your body: in this case your hand and arm... His penis stabbing my vagina was the worst. It felt like insects were let loose and they were crawling out of my vagina for hours and hours. It was horrible, the smell, the touch, the feel everything. How can a woman ever describe sex as pleasure? I don't understand. That was the first night in a series of self-harm episodes.' Angie C.

(This is an excerpt from a client's description of the way in which she perceives the emotion of disgust in relation to sex.)


In this article, we will look closely at two distinct areas of interest, disgust and sexual dysfunction, and also at the interaction between them. Sexuality is currently one of the foremost among women's health issues, as sexual dysfunction may have a serious negative impact on relationships and overall emotional well being across different life stages. Moreover, sexual dysfunction can have a negative effect on both genders (directly/indirectly). If left untreated, therefore, sexual dysfunction could cause silent suffering and significant emotional pain. Our principal emotion of interest, disgust, is also a recently growing formulation in its own right after being labelled as the 'forgotten emotion of psychiatry' (Phillips et al., 1998). Sexual dysfunction has been investigated from different points of view, both physiologically and within the framework of well-known psychological theories. The mechanisms underpinning these dysfunctions, however, remain far from understood and, consequently, treatment is limited. The exploration sexual dysfunction could foster a greater readiness on the part of professionals in the field to investigate and broach the topic of sex and sexuality with clients and sufferers, encouraging them to seek help immediately and to delve deeper into problems that might otherwise remain hidden.

Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction is a term used to define continuous impairments of sexual arousal and response (Hawton, 2003). This term can be rather ambiguous as the degree of 'dysfunction' is entirely determined from the subjective points of view of the individual and her partner. Sexual dysfunction is highly influenced by other factors, such as implicit and explicit memories that can generate expectations that merge with the individuals' unique associations of the sexual experience. In this article, we are going to focus on vaginismus: for the sake of clarity, we will provide its definition below.

Vaginismus may occur in approximately 0.5 to 1% of fertile women, though accurate estimations are lacking (Graziottin, 2006). It seems to be a relatively common problem but it is underrepresented in the medical literature, which could be due to the sensitivity surrounding the problem itself as well as to the complexities involved in its definition. However, for the purpose of this study, vaginismus is defined as a 'recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with intercourse' (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Vaginistic complaints are characterized by 'persistent difficulties to allow vaginal entry of a penis/finger/object, despite the woman's wish to do so' (Basson, 2005). An extension of this definition includes a component of phobic avoidance and the anticipation/fear/experience of pain. As already mentioned in the introduction of this article, the treatment strategies currently available are not very effective (Van Lankveld et al., 2006) and, as a result, vaginismus often takes a chronic course (Weijmar Schultz et al., 2005).

The psychological perspective in this field seems to consider sexual dysfunction secondary to a negative reaction to erotic stimulation (Janssen and Everaerd, 1993). De Jong and colleagues identified disgust as a prominent candidate for one of these negative emotional reactions. In the latter study, findings were indicative of a connection between vaginismus and a propensity for disgust, therefore enhancing the vulnerability to vaginistic complaints in this population (De Jong et al., 2008).

However, evidence is rather limited in this area, and there is a disproportionate focus on emotional and cognitive processes related to fear and pain, with little attention paid to disgust (Kaneko, 2001). Sexual dysfunction, with a particular emphasis on vaginismus, has been often associated with a physiological, primary neurodystonia of the pelvic floor (Graziottin, 2004), and sometimes with neurological disorders. However, evidence suggests that even if this is actually presumed, a psychological reaction to the impairment may exacerbate the problem. Moreover, the disgust and fear of penetration surrounding vaginismus may impair the normal process of arousal, which can worsen the problems through processes of attention that influence the interpretation of sexual stimuli (Dorfan and Woody, 2006), thus making it more difficult for the individual to 'merge' with the situation. Apart from the problem low sexual arousal can create in itself, it can also trigger or act as a foundation for other, possibly more severe sexual dysfunctions.

This may interact with muscular arousal causing a defensive contraction of the perivaginal muscles (Graziottin, 2008), which can be the foundation for the vaginistic complaints expressed by these women. This posits vaginismus as a complaint susceptible to psychological sexual treatment driven by disgust-related findings. The latter can potentially refine the interventions presently available, by, perhaps, also including disgust in the interventions: for instance, by neutralizing the disgusting associations connected to body products and/or parts commonly present in sexual encounters. In focusing on the emotion of disgust, it is by no means our intention to diminish the importance of fear; instead, this approach provides a more refined lens through which look at the interaction between, and uniqueness of, these two potentially active basic emotions. For instance, fear could be elicited by an anticipation of harm or by a fear of contagion or contact with disgusting objects. This is strengthened by findings from previous studies conducted on arachnophobia, where it was found that the single best predictor of elicited fear was the enhanced sensitivity to contagion during the viewing of images of spiders (De Jong et al., 2002).

Current sexual treatments based on cognitive-behavioural principles seem to suggest that in the several stages of the treatment for vaginismus, negative attitudes may become apparent, which could reflect underlying cognitive processes and automatic associations, of which the woman may be completely or partially unaware. Automatic associations could impair the normal process of arousal (Laan and Janssen, 2007). Consequently, from the perspective of this new conceptualization of vaginismus, the impairments experienced by women with vaginismus or other sexual dysfunctions with a similar psychopathology may fundamentally reflect a disgust-induced, safety-seeking response. The minimal attention paid to disgust-related processes may be one of the possible reasons for the low efficacy of the treatments that are currently available. Moreover, targeting these automatic associations that are possibly related to a susceptibility to disgust can offer new insights into the psychopathology of such a contentious disorder.

Disgust Mechanism

The paucity of empirical research on disgust is very surprising, as disgust is relevant to a variety of fields (Phillips et al., 1998) and is a common and basic emotion experienced in everyday life. Disgust also has unique characteristics and manifestations: although it shares similarities with fear, disgust involves a suspension rather than an increase in activities. The opinion within existing literature is consistent about the development and function of disgust as an evolutionary defensive mechanism against the ingestion of harmful pathogens. Although disgust functions as an effective defence reaction, it has to be suspended in some situations to make normal sexual functioning possible; otherwise, it can in itself hinder the process of sexual arousal.

Theoretical accounts seem to focus on different types and constructs of disgust rather than representing it as one unitary emotion. Studies have revealed that the response to core disgust elicitors (e.g. rotten food, dirty toilets, faeces etc...) weakens overtime but intensifies for socio-moral elicitors (Simpson et al., 2006). Different psychological mechanism for animal, core and contamination disgust, may give rise to different clinical conditions and behaviour (Olatunji et al., 'Core, animal ...'). Moreover, in the context of sexual behaviour, these three seem to be the most relevant. This distinctiveness can potentially be reflected in the neural substrate when a comparison is made between the different disgust elicitors (Olatunji et al., 'Disgust Sensitivity ...'). Sexual behaviour is particularly associated with animal disgust due to its association with the 'animalistic' in human nature. Socio-moral disgust is also an important construct that may very well be involved in sexual behaviour due to its assumed link with the protection and internalization of cultural rules and conformity. Therefore, subjective violations of such rules can elicit disgust and interfere with sexual arousal and absorption (Rozin and Haidt, 1999) and possibly interact with the mechanism underlying a variety of sexual dysfunctions. This effect can be even more prevalent when sex is represented to individuals as dirty or inappropriate from an early age, perhaps with reference to the religious views commonly held in the social environment they grow up in.

From an evolutionary perspective, disgust is perceived as a defence from contamination present in the environment (Curtis et al., 2004). The literature suggests that specific body parts vary in their sensitivity to contamination, with mouth, vagina and penis holding the highest subjective sensitivity to contamination, while bodily products such as sweat and semen function as the strongest elicitors of disgust (Rozin and Fallon, 1987). Given the core role of these organs and products in sexual behaviour, it is difficult not to see the link between the two phenomena. However, what is most striking in this account is the lack of connections being made previously in research between the avoidance of sexual penetration and disgust, despite the fact that a connection is supported by empirical research (Carnes, 1998).

The state or experience of disgust is also generally associated with avoidant tendencies, i.e. with subjects removing themselves from situations (that elicit disgust) or withdrawing their attention. Fear of contamination would, therefore, be expected to elicit defensive reflexes aimed at self-protection and the avoidance of the perceived contaminated object (e.g. penis). This could be reflected in the involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, which was found to be associated with a general defence mechanism (Van der Velde et al., 2001). The stronger avoidance of potentially contaminated sexual stimuli found in vaginistic women when compared to women with dyspareunia or healthy controls, supports the aforementioned conceptualization (De Jong et al., 2008). The core difference that distinguished the vaginistic group from the other two groups was mainly based on differential scores on the Hygiene and Death subscales of the disgust scale (Haidt et al., 1994). Authors of this study explained this finding in the vaginistic group as evidence of an inclination towards a fearful preoccupation with contamination (De Jong et al., 2008). Therefore, given the tacit knowledge that the penis is often associated with contamination (Davey et al., 1993) and the vagina is commonly perceived as extremely sensitive to contamination, we hypothesize that this could be a contributive factor in the process that underlies vaginistic complaints.

Memory underpinning the Disgust Induced Defensive Behaviour

The retrieval of memories can possibly trigger automatic associations and a negative anticipation related to disgust that motivates the person to seek disgust-induced, defensive behaviour, possibly projected as vaginistic complaints, secondary to a relatively negative appraisal of the sexual stimulus (Brauer et al., 2008). This may contaminate the sexual encounter and encourage further avoidance. Contaminated sexual arousal can be generated by vaginal dryness and increased pelvic floor muscle tone, hence more susceptibility to pain resulting from friction (Kuile and Weijenborg, 2006). The conscious appraisal of sexual stimuli is not based exclusively on the situational experience but also on previous experiences of sexual encounters (Spiering et al,, 2004).

Evidence suggests that women who show symptoms of sexual dysfunction have a greater propensity for fear and for negative associations in connection to sexual stimuli (Brauer et al., 2008). The contradictory findings of positive rather than negative automatic associations in the dyspareunia group, despite their painful experiences, were difficult to interpret but the authors concluded that such (pain-related) experiences might influence the conscious more than the implicit and well-ingrained automatic associations (Brauer et al., 2008). This conclusion was based on the self-reported data that was incongruent with the implicit findings, suggesting a reflective (vs. reflexive) involvement in dyspareunia. It would be interesting to investigate whether this is similar for patients with primary vaginismus, using implicit measures and pictures of brain activation for both groups.

Consequently, in line with abundant literature in the area of cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy, avoidance of sexual penetration may prevent a patient from refuting her fears relating to sexual disgust, which may further increase the negative associations and disgust-induced defensive behaviour (due to repeated contaminated sexual experience and hence reinforcement of her beliefs) connected to the actual act of penetration.

From a slightly different perspective (although one that can be connected to the above account), there is a lot of literature, which shows that endogenous glucocorticoids are released in the expectancy of a subjectively abhorrent stimulation, such as the negative anticipation of penetration. Recent literature shows that this elevation of glucocorticoids is also linked to preferential impairment in the retrieval of emotionally arousing information (De Quervain and Margraf, 2008). Findings show that glucocorticoid treatment leads to an impairment of the ability to recall previously learned information (Wolf et al. 2001), which suggests that the 'impaired retrieval' of fearful memories reduces negative anticipation for the feared stimuli (Soravia et al., 2006). This finding has been applied successfully to several disorders (e.g. in Phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It would, therefore, be interesting to investigate whether this might also be reflected in subjects with vaginismus. Positive results would be expected due to the seeming similarities in the underlying cognitive mechanism shared by specific phobias and vaginismus. This could have a groundbreaking significance for the potential treatment of patients with vaginismus, possibly in combination with other exposure interventions.


The aim of this report was to attempt to delve deeper into the realms of vaginismus, and to look at the way in which disgust is intertwined with the complexities of such complaints, focusing mainly on the concept of this basic emotion of disgust. However, we mentioned fear of pain and other concepts that we deemed were necessary and could fit in well with this revised conceptualization.

A great need exists for the enhancement of our current understanding of the role of disgust in relation to these relatively common sexual disorders, vaginismus in particular. This may contribute to the refinement of its current conceptualization, and to the development of effective psychological treatments and interventions for women suffering from these complaints as well as their partners who may also be suffering as a consequence of these problems.

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Reactie van John Chambers

Geplaatst op 4 april 2009 om 10:17:15

I just wish to inject some observations into this matter. Religion can play a part in the attitudes of some individuals,which can implant the doctrine that sex is only to be indulged in to produce offspring, and if this is not the case then to abstain is seen as the only option. This in itself through indoctrination, can lead to the disgust that such an individual may feel towards any sexual activity, other than that condoned by the religious organisation.The same disgust at the sexual act may also be formed by those individuals who have obsessive attitudes towards cleanliness. It has been observed that such individuals spent a large amount of time cleaning the home. Also will shower and bath obsessively, and see other people who no share the same obsessive attitude to cleanliness as suspects and "unclean". This can lead to conflicts in natural desires and register as disgust of sexual contact with most normal individuals

Reactie van Angie Caruana

Geplaatst op 10 april 2009 om 01:26:38

A question from a non-medical brain!!Could it be that (quoting from your your article) "vaginismus is defined as a 'recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with intercourse" be the side-effect result from specific medications as well?

Reactie van Charmaine Borg

Geplaatst op 11 april 2009 om 17:25:27

I would like to thank you Mr John Chambers for your observations. Stick religious believes injected in a way to depict sex as bad/wrong/dirty together with very rigid culture may have an input in how the individual eventually perceive sex and sexual interactions. This could very well be reflected in automatic associations that are possibly out of the females’ conscious awareness. Our planned study using a task called Implicit Association Task (IAT) together with fMRI (to investigate the brain responses to disgust and sex stimuli) will shed light on these associations. It is interesting to look at cultures like Malta where over 98% of the population is catholic in comparisons to other cultures with different believes and in countries where the prevalence of Vaginismus primary/ acquired (together with other sexual dysfunctions) are known to be relatively high.

Reactie van Charmaine Borg

Geplaatst op 11 april 2009 om 17:27:22

Ms Angie Caruana, I thank you for your contribution. Evidence is utterly matching on the decrease in libido for females suffering from certain psychological problems and that their pharmacological treatment can have the latter as a side effect. Moreover, these conditions may also have a negative impact on sexual arousal, which as described in the article above can enhance the process underlying sexual dysfunction (i.e. both as a trigger and also as a maintenance factor). However, the recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of the vagina that interferes with intercourse is more believed to be an automatic defensive response. There are several theories to explain the latter e.g. fear induced/disgust induced response. These together with other factors can all be playing a role to generate this defensive response

Reactie van Ben Lewis Evans

Geplaatst op 14 april 2009 om 09:53:34

Ok, so I have to ask. If "the penis is often associated with contamination" and the "vagina is commonly perceived as extremely sensitive to contamination" in the general population? Then why are sexual dysfunctions like this so rare? (if disgust is the primary driver?)Or do these contamination associations only commonly exist amongst those who are already dysfunctional and not amongst the general population?Or is it that they do exist in the general population to start with, and that it is just that as you mention that animalistic disgust goes through desensitization relatively easily (something I can certainly attest to having cleaned animal cages as a zoo keeper). Finally, if the penis/vagina/semen/etc are commonly associated with contamination, and therefore following your argument, disgust, then that doesn't seem to make much evolutionary sense. If disgust is evolutionarily argued to be a defense mechanism (and therefore could be assumed to exist in animals) then it is odd that the core elements of procreation would be commonly associated with disgust. Do animals show avoidance of (their own/own species) semen/sexual fluids?

Reactie van Charmaine Borg

Geplaatst op 30 april 2009 om 18:35:35

Thanks a real lot Mr Ben Lewis Evans for your stirring feedback. It definitely generated loads of questions to ponder about!!We are by no means inferring that disgust is the one and only factor that is underlying such complex dysfunctions or much less that it is causal. One can look at SD as a web of processes, maybe each with small effect but in interaction to provide SDs as the outcome of their dynamics. However, the other possible processes underlying SD have been well saturated in literature leaving disgust relatively neglected when compared with the other emotions. Evidence is not congruent whether the emotion of disgust is innate or acquired. One observation that can shed light on these questions is the idea that disgust can in fact be a default emotion. Specific disgust towards sexual related stimuli is observed in children for example when they impulsively wipe their face after they kiss/are kissed. One could further speculate that then when teenage years start approaching other emotions and processes kick in that overrides the disgust by default. Suppressing these other emotions (for a variety of different reasons) keeps specific disgust high hence ''enhanced disgust found in vaginistic women compared to the health controls and females with dyspareunia’’ can be the default disgust that have never been neutralized/desensitized.This takes us to countries and cultures in which the prevalence of vaginismus ranks high. Speculating on the possibility that if one postpones the desensitization or habituations of sex disgust it can consequently be reflected as enhanced disgust (i.e. disgust that has never been neutralized). It would be very interesting to look at strict catholic populations or in other cultures where sex is postponed for after marriage, especially in these days and times when the years of when females decides to tight the knots is relatively late. Literature is utterly matching about the role of disgust in an evolutionary sense in terms of defence mechanism. However, disgust has to be suppressed in certain situations otherwise it can in itself be hindering the normal process of arousal and functioning through information/attention processes. Moreover, in the heat of the moment other processes can take prominence in normal sexual function that trigger the healthy sexual arousal but which may not be the case in sexual dysfunction because of other processes, acting in disparity with arousal.Whether animals show evidence of avoidance of some sort towards sexual stimuli I must admit I have limited knowledge in the field. However, I must think that impulses that kick in the teenage life (in humans) can possibly start much early in animals... Moreover, the animalistic instinct in animals is rather raw which puts these two on different levels and therefore incomparable. Disgust (sex-disgust) is much more cognitive and emotional reaction than simply the instinct. Animals do dislike and avoid certain tastes, which is a form of disgust (<distaste) but not of higher processes. Maybe the fear of contamination is more easily explained, since it is higher than distaste and an important part of the human disgust response. In essence, humans have higher processes in activity and the experience of animal-reminder disgust can be more an intention to distance themselves from the animal on the hierarchy.There is definitely much room for thoughts and speculations on these issues and it is very interesting to see how research can aid in an attempt to answer some of the most intriguing but previously imprisoned issues.

Reactie van Ben Lewis Evans

Geplaatst op 1 mei 2009 om 00:17:57

Hmm, I apologise but I have to disagree with your assessment of disgust being the default reaction to sexual stimuli which is then overcome with sexual maturation. Young children may indeed impulsively wipe their faces after kissing/being kissed, however I would also suggest that if you place any wet stimuli on their face they would do the same. In other words my assumption would be is not the "sexual" stimuli they are reacting to, rather the wetness/moistness associated with it. Furthermore young children are well known for their comfort with nakedness (to the point of it being difficult to keep clothes on them at times), and also do not as far as I am aware show any aversion to sexual organs (their own or others), and in fact an be quite curious about these areas (much to the mortification of some parents). This does not suggest an innate disgust associated with sexual stimuli which is then overcome.Neither is there, in my experience, any avoidance of sexual stimuli in animals. Many animals sniff, lick and generally show great interest in their own and others sexual organs/excretions (much to the dismay/embarrassment of many dog owners). As far as I have seen this can occur even before sexual maturation, although the interest is of course greatly increased after sexual maturity is reached.I agree that disgust is a strong innate emotion (Damasio certainly considers it such for example), and certainly has a use from an evolutionary stand point, but I am not convinced that disgust is an innate response to sexual stimuli. I would suggest instead that there is strong evidence for it being a learnt association. In that sexual stimuli, which are not innately disgusting (and actually should be, according to evolutionary reasoning, actually innately attractive/exciting - Although there are also the "secondary sexual characteristics" as well), are learnt to be associated with disgust (a base emotion that is actually probably evolutionarily very strong due to its high survival value). The very fact that as you say certain cultures which have repressive values around sex also have high levels of avoidance based sexual disfunction seems to support this. That the cultural values are tied up with mortality and disgust/shame in relation to sex would indicate, to me, that it is these values that cause the disgust reaction to become associated with sexual stimuli. I mean, look at the remaining "primitive" societies around the world who tend not to be concerned with western body modesty, or look at accounts of colonisation by Western explorers. In such accounts there would often be mention of "immoral" natives who showed no western learnt aversion to nakedness (and as in the case of many native cultures take great pleasure in carving huge sexual organs on their statues and other relics). This would suggest to me again that disgust/avoidance in relation to sexual stimuli is something learnt, rather than a natural innate response. I would suggest that Sexual Disgust/modesty is a trapping of "civilised society".I think certainly there are some things that could be said about sexual stimuli that make them easy to learn to associate with disgust; such as emphasising the closeness to or dual waste disposal aspects, or the physical nature of the excretions (although from an evolutionary standpoint the excretions are not really "intended" to be seen/experienced in the ways that perhaps they are in modern sexuality). Also the potential for infection, although I would more suggest that the mortality which has arisen in certain religions against sex before marriage was more about population control/the importance of maintaining family groups, rather than sexual health issues. All, and all I certainly agree that it is very worthwhile and interesting to investigate the emotion of disgust in relation to sexual disfunction. I do not however find it convincing to say that sexual stimuli are innately disgusting, but concede that it is indeed very possible they may be learnt to be associated with the emotion of disgust (perhaps even easily learnt).I wish you the best with your research!

Reactie van Maypaki

Geplaatst op 24 november 2010 om 15:59:13

Primary Vaginismus. If you have it, then your body is NOT designed for sex. It is God's way of telling a woman that she is DESTINED to become a nun or celibate. So if you have it, go on and BECOME A NUN.Or be CELIBATE. That's because it is God's way of controlling the global population. God created women with such sexual dysfunction to keep them away from sex and thus preventing conception. Unfortunately, most women don't realize it and would still go through days and weeks of therapy which is just time consuming. Trying to remedy your condition is against God's will.God does NOT want you to have sex. If your a woman, don't get married & don't have sex if your VAGINA wont let you.God had CLOSED the gates of your virginity.FACE IT! You have a NUN'S VAGINA.It is time to give up on men and become a NUN.VAGINISMUS may be the answer to overpopulation.God truly works in strange ways.

Reactie van Nianky

Geplaatst op 31 december 2010 om 10:19:04

Is this earlier reaction for REAL!!I am in shock that there are actually people who belief vaginismus is God's way of telling become a NUN.This is offending for all the women who suffers from vaginismus.Really in which time period do you live!!!!!

Reactie van June

Geplaatst op 4 januari 2011 om 00:49:26

Hi,I wonder if the commonly used definition that you use as well is helpfull. 'persistent difficulties to allow vaginal entry of a penis/finger/object, despite the woman's wish to do so'. It is often said that the woman wishes to have intercourse, but maybe she does not want is or there is a sort of struggle between wanting and not wanting. We do not want it...for safety-reasons. I think the definition should be changed into despite ... attempts to do so.The idea of disgust or dislike of penis is common in the literature/scientific community. But how important is this factor? And who came up with it? And what is the background of disgust (why do some subjects react on religious rigid ideas and others not)?I used to have primary vaginism and was caused by a number of reasons. Yes, I was fearfull but probably because I have a childhood experience in which I was hit by some one I loved while I was in bed. i I think i connected this experience automatically with having some one close, being intimate. I am completely cured since 7 years, one of the factors contributing to it was processing the old memory and knowing that it was history (less fear) and second, a new boyfriend (new start, warmer, less tall). Would it be possible to increase the scope of the research agenda to a broader notion of fear. And also, how is disgust related to previous experiences...Wouldn't be extremely interested to include cured women in your research or even better: follow them for years (before and after, because information about the change in disgust and other factors would be wonderfull)

Reactie van Angela

Geplaatst op 13 mei 2011 om 13:54:12

This is fascinating research, especially since most research on vaginismus relates to fear.I agree with Ben Lewis Evans that associating sexual stimuli with closeness to or dual waste disposal aspects of male and female bodies, could be a factor. But the question is, how do most children growing into adults then un-process this association?Also, for me and probably many women, seeing a male sex organ for the first time, is often associated with faeces -- as to a child, it is the same shape, and depending on ethnicity, often the same colour as a piece of faeces. I think this early association with male sex organs and faeces has to be important to be researched. Again, many women are probably able to later dis-associate this connection.As June mentioned, it would be interesting to find how various "cured" women have been able to dis-associate these connections of disgust.

Reactie van Ibrahim

Geplaatst op 18 december 2011 om 09:58:32

I agree with the contention that disgust plays a role, but so does fear of preconceived notions for pain, having no threshold or criteria for pain, inexperience, former ideas and beliefs about sex etc. I also disagree with those who say; this is God's way of telling women to become nuns! this is ridiculous and a blind unproven belief. Islam does not allow celibacy, but Christianity does and I don;t know how a human-being is expected to suppress their natural disposition and desire for love and family life. Finally, women can help themselves by seeking help as soon as possible, explaining to their husbands to be patient with them and accepting any help given from the qualified doctors.

Reactie van Maypaki

Geplaatst op 5 januari 2012 om 07:38:41

I finally realized that God is indeed a MALE.The reasons are:1.) If God is a female, she would never inflict women with painful intercourse. She would merely inflict them with infertility. Her empathy towards women's feelings will always prevail.2.) It is known in history that men treat women as property. Therefore, if God inflicts a woman with primary vaginismus, thick hymen or dry vagina, then her vagina is now the property of God. She's meant to control the population.God uses her as an instrument to reveal who the real rapists are, thereby upholding women's most divine right -the right NOT to be raped.This proves that God is a male, because for him, there are things more important than empathy towards females. This explains why painful intercourse is MORE COMMON among females than males.Because God is a MALE and treats some women as his property to control the population.I am now an enlightened man.If God is not concerned about population control, then why did God allow women to experience vaginismus (which seems to violate his commandment to be fruitful and multiply)? God seems to contradict himself.


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