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Romantic partner may play role in reducing vulvovaginal pain
Date:9/9/2010

This release is available in French.

Montreal, September 9th, 2010 An investigation published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine has found that male partners who express greater support, attention and sympathy to women's chronic vulvovaginal pain may trigger more pain, but also increase sexual satisfaction in female partners.

Women who took part in the study, conducted by the University of Montreal and University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, suffer from a condition called provoked vestibulodynia (PVD). A condition that affects 12 percent of premenopausal women, PVD can impair sexual functioning as well as diminish sexual desire, arousal, sexual satisfaction, orgasmic capacity and frequency of intercourse.

"An overly concerned partner may lead a woman to avoid sexual intercourse or exacerbate her pain by increasing her anxiety, hyper-vigilance and negative thoughts about the pain, which can in turn increase her pain during intercourse," says lead author, Dr. Natalie O. Rosen, a University of Montreal post-doctoral fellow in psychology. "If a man avoids sexual intercourse with a partner with PVD, then he may also reinforce her negative pain appraisals and that can lead to increased pain during intercourse."

At the same time, the researchers found that a more concerned attitude in partners was linked to greater sexual satisfaction in women with PVD. "It's likely that women interpret the attention from their partner as a greater sensitivity and understanding of her pain during sexual activity and that results in greater sexual satisfaction," says Rosen.

For couples affected by PVD, the key to decreasing pain and bolstering sexual satisfaction may be to shift the focus away from vaginal intercourse without avoiding sexual activity altogether. "Couples can focus on pleasurable sexual activities other than penetr
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Contact: Julie Gazaille
j.cordeau-gazaille@umontreal.ca
514-343-6796
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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