Beyond a "woman's problem" : the role of relationship processes in female genital pain
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofCurrent sexual health reports ; vol. 6, no. 1.
Female genital pain is a prevalent condition that can disrupt the psychosexual and relational well-being of affected women and their romantic partners. Despite the intimate context in which the pain can be elicited (i.e., during sexual intercourse), interpersonal correlates of genital pain and sexuality have not been widely studied in comparison to other psychosocial factors. This review describes several prevailing theoretical models explaining the role of the partner in female genital pain: the operant learning model, cognitive-behavioral and communal coping models, and intimacy models. The review includes a discussion of empirical research on the interpersonal and partner correlates of female genital pain and the impact of genital pain on partners’ psychosexual adjustment. Together, this research highlights a potential reciprocal interaction between both partners’ experiences of female genital pain. The direction of future theoretical, methodological, and clinical research is discussed with regard to the potential to enhance understanding of the highly interpersonal context of female genital pain