chapter  11
20 Pages

Painful Intercourse: Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder


Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD) is a disorder of pain and of sex. The pain wreaks havoc on the sex. It sets the stage for the development or reinforcement of co-morbid sexual dysfunctions, negative sexual attitudes, avoidant and damaging behaviors, relationship discord, and declines in self-esteem and mood. These, in turn, augment the experience of pain. Despite signifi cant overlap, pain may require certain interventions while sexual problems may require others. An Intersystem or integrative approach (Hertlein & Weeks, 2009) is thus the way to maximize effectiveness in the treatment of GPPPD. In fact, a sex therapist alone is unlikely to comprehensively assess or effectively treat the painful intercourse without the concurrent (rather than sequential) collaboration of one or more other health professionals (Binik & Meana, 2009). A sex therapist, however, may be ideally suited to coordinate the effort, if he/she has an understanding of the multidimensionality involved. The effort is a considerable one, as GPPPD can be a diffi cult problem to resolve.