Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 2021–2031 | Cite as

Maintaining Affection Despite Pain: Daily Associations Between Physical Affection and Sexual and Relationship Well-Being in Women with Genito-Pelvic Pain

  • Sarah A. Vannier
  • Natalie O. Rosen
  • Sean P. Mackinnon
  • Sophie Bergeron
Original Paper

Abstract

Provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) is a recurrent, genito-pelvic pain condition that affects 8–12 % of women and has negative implications for sexual and relationship functioning. Many women with PVD report avoiding physical affection because they are concerned that affectionate behavior will lead to painful sexual activity. In community samples, physical affection is associated with improved sexual and relational well-being; however, no research has assessed the influence of physical affection on well-being in women with PVD. The current study examined day-to-day, within-person associations between affectionate behavior (hugging/kissing, cuddling) and sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, sexual functioning, and pain intensity in women with PVD. Seventy women diagnosed with PVD completed an 8-week daily survey. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling. All outcomes were assessed on days involving sexual activity (n = 401 days). Physical affection was assessed on days with and without sexual activity. Hugging/kissing was positively associated with sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and sexual functioning within any given day and when predicting the next day. Hugging/kissing was unrelated to pain intensity. Cuddling was not associated with any outcomes. Results persisted for affection that occurred on days with and without sexual activity. Findings suggest physical affection is beneficial for the sexual and relationship well-being of women with PVD. These results may inform interventions that encourage women coping with PVD to engage in more daily physical affection with their partners.

Keywords

Affection Provoked vestibulodynia Genito-pelvic pain Sexual satisfaction Relationship satisfaction Sexual functioning 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Vannier
    • 1
  • Natalie O. Rosen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sean P. Mackinnon
    • 1
  • Sophie Bergeron
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceLife Sciences Centre, Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyIWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada

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