Genito-pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder in Couple and Family Therapy
The probable first known reference to symptoms of what would later be called genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (GPPPD) came in the 1547 treatise on “The Diseases of Women” that referred to “a tightening of the vulva” (Of Salerno 1547/1940). This tightening, along with uncontrollable spasms of the vulvovaginal canal (“vaginismus”; Jeng 2004), and painful vaginal intercourse (“dyspareunia”) would eventually be categorized together under one diagnosis. GPPPD consists of difficulties with vaginal penetration, pain during attempts at or actual vaginal intercourse, anxiety about this pain, or tightening or tensing of pelvic floor muscles during attempted vaginal penetration (American Psychiatric Association 2013).
The etiology of the symptoms of GPPPD was disputed among medical professionals, who initially attributed the spasms to a variety of causes. Hypotheses included an inability to reach sexual maturity, resistance to marriage related to...
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