Personality and relationship factors associated with dyspareunia among women



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Texas Tech University


Dyspareunia, a sexual pain disorder in which genital pain is associated with sexual intercourse, affects 9.3% to 15.5% of women (Colson et al., 2005; Danielsson, 2001; Johnson, Phelps, & Cottler, 2004). Previous research has found that women with dyspareunia have more depression, more anxiety, and lower levels of relationship satisfaction than women without dyspareunia. The present study attempted to replicate the previous findings and extend the literature to investigate sexual functioning, personality, sex guilt, anxiety, depression, and love styles. Women were grouped into one of two groups based on pain domain scores on the Female Sexual Function Index. Among 123 university women, 88 women had no dyspareunia and 35 had dyspareunia. Women with dyspareunia were younger, engaged in sexual activity and sexual intercourse less frequently, experienced more arousal difficulties on the Female Sexual Function Index, and scored lower on the Storge Love Style scale on the Love Attitudes Scale than women without dyspareunia. With regard to personality, women with dyspareunia scored higher on the Paranoid, Schizotypal, Borderline, and Avoidant Personality scales on the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire. No significant differences were observed in health status, desire, lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, other love styles (e.g. Eros, Mania), sex guilt, depression, anxiety, or other personality scales (e.g., Histrionic, Negativistic). A stepwise multiple regression found Borderline Personality traits, arousal, and age significantly accounted for the variance in dyspareunia, model R2 = .22. These results suggest that personality is related to dyspareunia and suggest that women with pain are also likely to experience problems with arousal. Findings and implications for treatment are discussed.



Personality, Sexual dysfunction, Dyspareunia, Sexual pain disorder