Talking Bodies pp 163-182 | Cite as

Heteronormativity as a Painful Script: How Women with Vulvar Pain (re)Negotiate Sexual Practice

  • Renita SörensdotterEmail author


This chapter focuses on how norms for gender and (hetero)sexuality intersect with vulvar pain, sexual practice and bodily sensations, in relation to a study where I interviewed twenty-one women suffering from vulvar pain. Sexual practices, or the absence of them, partially constitute us as subjects. How we perform our sexuality is structured by how sex is constructed in society and culture. In a heteronormative culture, vaginal intercourse is part of sexual practice, and women suffering from vulvar pain cannot fully participate in this expected sexual practice. This means that they must actively respond to sexual discourses around what is considered to be ‘normal’ sexuality. In order to avoid pain and get pleasure out of the sexual encounter they need to change and redefine their sexual practice, and during this process norms for gender and sexuality are challenged. Norms and strategies for sexual practice and gender performance vary among women having sex with women and women having sex with men.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UppsalaUppsalaSweden

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