I would diagnose Clara with a sexual dysfunction disorder.
Specifically, Clara has a sexual
Because Clara experiences vaginal contractions that are so severe that any kind of
vaginal penetration cannot occur (due to the harsh pain of these contractions) Clara would suffer
In this disorder, the muscles which border the opening of the vagina spasm
and contract as a result of penetration or in anticipation of penetration.
contractions evoke a great deal of pain to the individual, and interfere with their sex life.
Vaginismus can have both physical and psychological causes.
Some physical causes include
scars or physical damage resulting from childbirth, surgery, or infection.
Very often, Vaginismus
results from some fear, aversion, or very negative attitude concerning intercourse or the partner.
Vaginismus can be thought of as a method of avoidance; the severe contractions may be a
reaction to prevent intercourse.
The fears or negative attitudes can cause the severe vaginal
spasms experienced by the individual; these fears and attitudes can have a number of origins.
First off, fears of intercourse may be biologically based.
Hormonal changes may be one such
For example, if a women’s estrogen levels begin to drop, vaginal lubrication may decrease
as well, and pain may be experienced during intercourse.
The individual may then come to fear
the pain associated with intercourse, and this fear of pain may precipitate the vaginal
Inefficient arousal may also lead to negative feelings concerning intercourse, and
these negative feelings can also precipitate vaginal spasms.
Inefficient arousal may stem from
biological factors, including side effects of certain prescription drugs (including SSRI’s and
Certain illnesses (such as diabetes) and substances (such as alcohol and
marijuana) can also disrupt sexual functioning; the resulting deficits can lead to anxiety or
negative attitudes concerning intercourse.
Once again, this anxiety can precipitate the
The fears and anxiety concerning intercourse may also be more psychologically
For example, if the individual is suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder, their
level of sexual desire may drop substantially.
Once again, this drop in desire may cause an
individual to have a negative outlook concerning intercourse, and as such may experience the
vaginal contractions associated with Vaginismus.
One especially important factor contributing to
development of Vaginismus involves how the individual was raised to view sexual intercourse.
(as in the case of Clara) religious upbringing or parenting style causes an individual to view sex
as sinful, evil, or repulsing, the individual will most likely fail to develop a strong desire for
sexual activity and may even interpret intercourse as frightening.
These attitudes towards
intercourse can also cause the vaginal spasms.
Constant worry about one’s performance during