The Importance of Interpersonal Context When Conceptualizing Sexual Pain After Female Genital Cutting
In their Target Article, Connor, Brady, Chaisson, Mohamed, and Robinson (2019) make a compelling case for the timeliness and relevance of a conceptual model to guide research and clinical management of sexual pain1 in women who have experienced female genital cutting (FGC). They draw parallels between the experiences of women with FGC and women with other types of sexual pain (e.g., vulvodynia or chronic vulvar pain) to support their model, while also underscoring the unique features of the FGC context. For example, feelings of being stigmatized and other communication difficulties with healthcare providers are common barriers for women reporting other types of genital and pelvic pain (Nguyen, Turner, Rydell, Maclehose, & Harlow, 2013), but these experiences may be heightened among women who have undergone FGC given the widely held negative judgement toward this practice in Western cultures. In their model, Connor et al. have smoothly integrated four well-known (to the pain community)...
Natalie O. Rosen is supported by a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She is grateful to Samantha Dawson and Serena Corsini-Munt for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this commentary.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Dr. Rosen has no conflicts of interest.
- Connor, J. J., Brady, S. S., Chaisson, N., Mohamed, F. S., & Robinson, B. E. (2019). Understanding women’s responses to sexual pain after female genital cutting: An integrative psychological pain response model. Archives of Sexual Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1422-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Davis, S. N. P., Bergeron, S., Bois, K., Sadikaj, G., Binik, Y. M., & Steben, M. (2015). A prospective 2-year examination of cognitive and behavioral correlates of provoked vestibulodynia outcomes. Clinical Journal of Pain, 31, 333–341. https://doi.org/10.1097/ajp.0000000000000128.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lemieux, A., Bergeron, S., Steben, M., & Lambert, B. (2013). Do romantic partners’ responses to entry dyspareunia affect women’s experiences of pain? The roles of catastrophizing and self-efficacy. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 2274–2284. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pazmany, E., Bergeron, S., Verhaeghe, J., Van Oudenhove, L., & Enzlin, P. (2014). Sexual communication, dyadic adjustment, and psychosexual well-being in premenopausal women with self-reported dyspareunia and their partners: A controlled study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11, 1786–1797. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12518.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Racine, M., Tousignant-Laflamme, Y., Kloda, L. A., Dion, D., Dupuis, G., & Choinière, M. (2012). A systematic literature review of 10 years of research on sex/gender and pain perception (part 2): Do biopsychosocial factors alter pain sensitivity differently in women and men? Pain, 153, 619–635.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rosen, N. O., Bergeron, S., Sadikaj, G., Glowacka, M., Delisle, I., & Baxter, M. (2013). Impact of partner responses on sexual function in women with vulvodynia and their partners: A dyadic daily experience study. Health Psychology, 33, 823–831. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034550.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar