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Bodily beliefs and bodily expression of emotions among a group of iranian women with vaginismus

Molaeinezhad, M1; Ebrahimpour, M2; Amini, M3; Salehi, M1; Salehi, P4; Afshar, H5

1: Isfahan University of Medical sciences, Behavioral sciences research center, Iran; 2: Tehran Municipality-Social facilitation office in local commuinitySocial facilitation office in local community -Iran; 3: Isfahan University of Medical sciences- Khorshid hospital. behavioral sciences research center- Iran; 4: Isfahan University of Medical sciences, Shahid Beheshti Infertility cinic , Iran; 5: Isfahan University of Medical sciences, psychosomatic research center, Iran

Objective(s): Conceptions of sexual health are embedded in moral, religious and political contexts. Avoiding a one-sided medical view towards sexuality, researchers have recently argued for a more critical and interdisciplinary reflection on sexuality. A study was designed to investigate how do the vaginistic women perceive their body -as a whole- and sexual organs; before, during and after wedding night?

Material and Method(s): During a qualitative study using thematic ,body mapping story-telling and semi-structured interviews; 15 women who complained of vaginismus for at least one year, narrated their stories at Isfahan Medical University Psychosexual Clinic. Data were analyzed using a multistage narrative analysis technique.

Result(s): Three main themes were emerged about the body as a whole :Beauty as a normal standard of female being ;The guardians of the body and then; body surrenders after wedding nights. Participants narrated through body mapping that how their beauty, considered as their good chance and power for finding a good husband and later as a power for control outside and relationships. All women articulated how the internalization of social values has been leaded to omission of these parts in their body mapping. About bodily expressions of emotions; they described "embodiment of fear in a tick hymen" as a socio- medical constructed diagnosis and "pain as a socially desirable symptom rather than fear" during intercourse attempts and medical visits by clinicians.

Conclusion(s): Findings revealed that family and social environment are critical in determining the integrity of body, and the level of acceptance and comfort among vaginistic patients with their whole body and sexual behaviours. Findings also showed that how internalization of socio-cultural values about female body, may lead to embodiment of a culturally constructed fear in a painful non-touchable genitalia and failure in attempts for vaginal penetration.


Work supported by industry: yes, by Isfahan University of Medical sciences (industry funding only - investigator initiated and executed study). The presenter or any of the authors act as a consultant, employee (part time or full time) or shareholder of an industry.

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