Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 292–303

The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Dyspareunia

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-009-9563-x

Cite this article as:
Binik, Y.M. Arch Sex Behav (2010) 39: 292. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9563-x


The DSM-IV-TR attempted to create a unitary category of dyspareunia based on the criterion of genital pain that interfered with sexual intercourse. This classificatory emphasis of interference with intercourse is reviewed and evaluated from both theoretical and empirical points of view. Neither of these points of view was found to support the notion of dyspareunia as a unitary disorder or its inclusion in the DSM-V as a sexual dysfunction. It seems highly likely that there are different syndromes of dyspareunia and that what is currently termed “superficial dyspareunia” cannot be differentiated reliably from vaginismus. It is proposed that the diagnoses of vaginismus and dyspareunia be collapsed into a single diagnostic entity called genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder. This diagnostic category is defined according to five dimensions: percentage success of vaginal penetration; pain with vaginal penetration; fear of vaginal penetration or of genito-pelvic pain during vaginal penetration; pelvic floor muscle dysfunction; medical co-morbidity.


DyspareuniaVaginismusVulvodyniaVestibulodyniaPelvic painDSM-V

Copyright information

© American Psychiatric Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Sex and Couple Therapy ServiceMcGill University Health CenterMontrealCanada