Clinical Psychology 9 (2016), 1, 114-114

Oral papers

The Cultural Meaning of Sexual Pain

R. Pristed - University of Agder, Grimstad, Norway

Fulltext (english, pages 114-114).pdf

This presentation seeks to explore the cultural meaning of sexual pain. The cultural context in this case, being the Scandinavian/Northern European culture; how is it perceived, how is it treated, is it accepted as real, or rejected as “merely psychological”? Is sexual pain compatible with the cultural perception of a “healthy”, “successful” sexuality/body image? Studies show that most women who experience sexual pain, continue the activities that hurt (Laan, ref.). This could be due to psychological or relationship factors, but could also have something to do with the cultural view on pain, and “real” sex as intercourse. This points to intercourse still being the primary sexual activity among heterosexual couples, and also, unfortunately, to sex being something to be endured, not necessarily enjoyed, at least for women. One could wonder what the implications are of treating vulvodynia with lidocaine, enabling intercourse, and merely postponing pain, instead of focusing on non-painful sexual activities, what is the message being sent to both women and their partners?

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