Hi there! Thanks for joining in for Episode 10, Season 1, of The Sensate Space podcast. Join us as we dispel common myths about genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (GPPPD), a pelvic and sexual pain condition encompassing vaginismus and dyspareunia.

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Hi there!

In this episode I will debunk five common myths that surround genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (or GPPPD - which encompasses conditions like vaginismus and dyspareunia). From misconceptions about fertility to misunderstandings about the nature of GPPPD itself, we're here to separate fact from fiction and provide a clearer perspective. So, join us as we unravel the myths and reveal the truths about an often misunderstood condition.

Content warning

This episode briefly mentions abuse, painful intercourse, and pregnancy. 


Myths about GPPPD are a problem because they perpetuate misinformation and stigma, making it even more challenging for individuals dealing with this condition. These myths can lead to feelings of isolation, shame, and misunderstanding, hindering the pursuit of accurate information and effective treatment. So, with that in mind, let’s walk through some of the most common ones.

Main Points

Myth #1:  Can't Get Pregnant with GPPPD 

This myth suggests that individuals with a Genito-Pelvic Pain disorder can't conceive, which is not true. While some may find intercourse challenging or not possible due to their condition, others can still engage in sexual activity and fall pregnant. Additionally, assisted reproductive methods are available for those facing difficulties. The ability to give birth without intervention is also possible but varies depending on the individual's specific presentation.

Myth #2:  Can't Have Sex 

It's a common misconception that people with this condition can't have sex at all. In reality, GPPPD exists on a spectrum, with some individuals experiencing a complete muscle barrier that makes intercourse challenging, while others can engage in sexual activity with varying degrees of discomfort or pain.

Myth #3:  Can't Be Cured 

Contrary to this myth, GPPPD is a treatable condition. Various therapeutic approaches, including physical therapy, psychological therapy, and medical interventions, can significantly improve symptoms and quality of life for individuals with GPPPD.

Myth #4:  It's Only Caused by Abuse 

GPPPD has multiple potential causes, and while a history of abuse can be a contributing factor (as the body may react to protect itself), it's just one of many factors. Having GPPPD doesn't automatically indicate a history of abuse. It’s so important that we avoid making assumptions about underlying causes.

Myth #5:  It's All in Your Mind 

While psychological factors like anxiety, shame, or disgust can play a role in GPPPD, it's primarily a physical condition. The pain and discomfort experienced by individuals with GPPPD are rooted in physical factors such as muscle tension and spasms. Recognising both the physical and psychological aspects is crucial for effective treatment and support.


So, there you have it - the top 5 myths we hear in relation to genito-pelvic pain disorder. I hope this helps you clear any misconceptions you may hear and maybe even provides some reassurance. 

Finally, before you go - if you found this helpful please share with anyone who might find it helpful. And remember to check out the resources on our website, thesensatespace.com 

Until next time, take care! You’ve got this. 


This is a psychology podcast about vaginismus and other pelvic and sexual pain disorders, and related issues (genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, dyspareunia, vulvodynia, painful intercourse, gynaecological pain, sexual dysfunction, chronic pelvic pain) for the purpose of education and collaboration; it’s not therapy or medical advice. Information is general in nature and does not replace individualised assessment or treatment advice. Please seek professional support tailored to your specific needs. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000). You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please see our About page for more information.

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