Moving toward or away from sexuality


Publication date



OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University

Document type


Master i psykisk helsearbeid


Background: The vulvovaginal pain disorder Provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) affects a significant health problem among women in Norway and the West overall. Although research to date shows that PVD pain is associated with psychological distress and difficulties with partner intimacy, qualitative studies that focus on sexuality remain few. As aetiological knowledges about PVD is still incomplete, it seems pertinent to learn more about women’s experiences and thoughts about sexuality in order to improve evaluation and treatment. Intention: Contribute new insight into how women with PVD experience sexuality. Research question: What do women who live with PVD tell about their relationship to sexuality? Method: Qualitative research interviews with 9 women with PVD. The data was processed using systematic text condensation (STC). Results: Two main categories represent the findings of the study: “Trust” and “Having control”. Conclusion: The current study suggests that for the 9 women in the sample there is a connection between view of pain and sexuality and choice of coping strategies. The combination of dualistic health discourse and heteronormativity seems to challenge women’s trust in themselves and their experience, making it difficult to engage in partner intimacy without feeling compelled to endure painful sex. Although contrasting, the participants’ choice to either move away from or toward partner intimacy both seem to be an effort to have control. Based on the experiences of some participants who have transformed their compulsive pattern of enduring painful sex it is hypothesized that this behaviour may be traumatizing in itself.




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