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Let's talk about sex -- And pain

For some women sex can be uncomfortable. For others it can be downright painful.

Dr. Irv Binik, a Psychology professor at McGill and director of the Royal Victoria Sex and Couples Therapy Service is trying to ease the pain. He has been studying the problem of sex-associated pain in women, paying particular attention to two recurrent acute conditions, pain during or after intercourse (dyspareunia) and involuntary spasms of the vagina (vaginismus).

"At the hospital I saw an unusually large number of women all complaining of pain during intercourse," says Dr. Binik of how he got involved in such research. But it was one particular patient who really alerted him to the problem. She had come to him in pain and was exasperated by the suggestion that she should consult yet another gynecologist. Dr. Binik remembers the encounter: "I said, she's absolutely right. Why am I sending her to a gynecologist? I am a psychologist, I'm supposed to know about pain."

Dr. Binik soon found out that women who experience pain during intercourse have very few options. "I basically learned that there was almost no research, almost no clinical intervention. People assumed it was a physical problem or a sexual problem. Nobody focused on the pain." So with the help of some devoted graduate students and an
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Contact: Irving Binik
irving.binik@ego.psych.mcgill.ca
514-398-6095
McGill University
11-Jul-2002


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