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.
Archives of Sexual Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 12, 2016
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