Hi there! Thanks for joining in for Episode 8, Season 1, of The Sensate Space podcast. This is a short episode about a research study from 2021 that examined how common is GPPPD (genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder; aka vaginismus, dyspareunia) and related factors.

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This is a short little episode to talk about an interesting study that was published in 2021, looking at the prevalence of genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder or, as I’ll refer to it in this episode, GPPPD.  If you need a refresher on GPPPD then check out episode 2. Basically - it refers to a sexual pain disorder, and the term encompasses conditions that have been known as vaginismus and vulvodynia.

This study by Drs Azim, Happel-Parkins, Moses, and Haaroerfer looked at almost 1000 US women and their experiences of pain during intercourse. The authors also captured some information about some of the factors that contribute to the condition.  This paper was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, check the show notes for the full reference. 

This is a peer-reviewed article, which means that experts in the field carefully assessed and validated the quality and accuracy of the paper. This is important because it secures the reliability of scientific findings and maintains trust in the research community. In other words - it’s considered high enough quality to be accepted in the field. 

Limitations of the study:

Now, Limitations:

So what have we learned from this study?


So, to summarise - In this study, it was found that a staggering 43.2% of women, nearly half of the participants, experienced pain during intercourse, with almost 1 in 5 facing frequent discomfort. This prevalence highlights how common this issue is, yet it’s still not largely acknowledged by the general public. 

Okay, that brings us to the end of this micro-sized research snapshot.

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. 


Katharina A. Azim, PhD and others, Exploring Relationships Between Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder, Sex Guilt, and Religiosity Among College Women in the U.S., The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 4, April 2021, Pages 770–782, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.02.003


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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