Dyspareunia: Sexual dysfunction or pain syndrome?

Document Type



This study investigated the clinical attributes of dyspareunia and the variables used to classify it. A systematic clinical description of the pain symptomatology was obtained through the administration of a structured interview and standardized pain measures to 112 women suffering from dyspareunia, ranging in age from 19 to 65. Subjects also underwent three different gynecological examinations and completed standardized measures of psychopathology, marital adjustment, and sexual attitudes, the results of which were used to test the ability of three different classification systems, including the DSM-IV, to predict physical and psychosocial outcomes. Using classification analysis, temporal pattern and location of the pain were found to be the best predictors of physical diagnoses, although none of the taxa in the three classification systems tested were related to psychosocial outcomes. Sexual impairment of women suffering from dyspareunia notwithstanding, the results support the consideration of dyspareunia as primarily a pain syndrome, rather than a sexual dysfunction.


Dyspareunia; Pelvic pain; Psychosexual disorders; Sex (Psychology); Sexual disorders; Vulva—Diseases


Community-Based Research | Counseling Psychology | Health Psychology | Medicine and Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


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Publisher Citation

Meana, M., Binik, Y. M., Khalife, S., & Cohen, D. (1997). Dyspareunia: Sexual dysfunction or pain syndrome?. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 185(9), 561-569.

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