Sex, disgust, and penetration disorders

9789088917172: Sex, disgust, and penetration disorders
From the Inside Flap :

About the thesis:
Some women have pain with intercourse (dyspareunia), and some others are even unable to have anything in their vagina (vaginismus), and flinch even at the prospect of penetration. In this thesis, pain, morality, and disgust in particular, were investigated as possible factors involved in penetration-related disorders.
Women with penetration-related disorders showed catastrophic pain cognitions, relatively strict moral beliefs, and stronger automatic penetration-disgust associations, together with an increased facial levator activity (nose wrinkle) in response to erotica. Interestingly, at brain level, many areas responded to penetration stimuli in the same way they responded to disgust. This overlap was, however, not different for sexually asymptomatic women versus women with penetration disorders. The latter could reflect a default disgust response towards penetration stimuli across all women, perhaps more so in the absence of sexual readiness.
Accordingly, out of context, sexual stimuli such as saliva, and semen, are among the strongest disgust elicitors. To explain why people still express sexual appetite it has been argued that sexual arousal might temporarily reduce the disgust-eliciting properties of otherwise disgusting stimuli. In support of this, research in this thesis showed that when sexually aroused women rated disgusting stimuli as less disgusting, and were more willing to conduct previously considered disgusting (behavioural) tasks. A critical next step would thus be to examine the brain processing of sex stimuli following sexual arousal induction. This thesis provides evidence that disgust is involved in penetration-related dysfunctions, and points to the importance of sexual arousal as a moderator of sexual disgust.
Sommige vrouwen lijden pijn bij penetratie (dyspareunie), terwijl anderen geheel niet in staat zijn om iets in hun vagina in te brengen (vaginisme), en terugdeinzen bij het vooruitzicht alleen al. In dit proefschrift zijn met name pijn, moraliteit en walging onderzocht als mogelijke factoren in penetratie-gerelateerde seksuele disfuncties.
Kenmerken van vrouwen met deze penetratiegerelateerde disfuncties zijn catastrofale pijncognities, striktere morele waarden en normen, sterkere penetratie-walgingsassociaties, gecombineerd met versterkte gezichtsspieractiviteit van de levator alesque nasii (walgspier) als reactie op erotica. Veel hersengebieden reageren hetzelfde op penetratie stimuli als op walgstimuli. Deze overlap was aanwezig voor vrouwen met enzonder klachten. Dit lijkt erop te wijzen dat bij gebrek aan seksuele bereidwilligheid, penetratiestimuli standaard walging oproept.
Ondanks dat seksuele stimuli, zoals speeksel, sperma, zweet, en vaginaal vocht, buiten de normale context zeer walgelijk zijn, laten mensen toch seksueel toenaderingsgedrag zien om aan seksuele behoefte te kunnen voldoen. Vrouwen die opgewonden zijn, vinden walgelijke stimuli minder walgelijk. Ook zijn zij meer bereid (gedrags)taken uit te voeren, die eerder als walgelijk werden gezien (bijvoorbeeld een koekje eten met een levende worm erop of gebruikte condooms aanraken). Een volgende cruciale stap is te onderzoeken hoe seksuele stimuli worden verwerkt op het niveau van de hersenen, nadat seksuele arousal is geïnduceerd.
Dit proefschift levert bewijs dat walging inderdaad betrokken lijkt te zijn bij penetratiegerelateerde disfuncties. Echter de onderzoeksvraag is veranderd naar hoe het mogelijk is dat we nog steeds seksuele behoeften hebben, terwijl seksuele stimuli zo vies zijn.
About the Author:
Charmaine Borg was born on the 28th of March 1981, and comes from Malta. She conducted her B.Sc (hons) at the University of Malta (UoM). This was a 3-year course carried out in parallel to her full time job at the Acute Short Stay Psychiatric Clinic at St. Luke's hospital, where she worked for 5 years with patients suffering from a large spectrum of psychopathologies. She was a successful candidate for Leonardo da Vinci scholarship and had the opportunity to do an internship in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Community Services. She was a casual teacher at the Faculty of Health, UoM, from September 2006 to September 2007.
Charmaine then received a scholarship from the Health Department to pursue postgraduate studies. She has earned an M.Sc in Mental Health Sciences from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London in January, 2009. The title of her M.Sc thesis was 'Magnetic Resonance Imaging study of the putamen in twins concordant or discordant for schizophrenia'. Her majors were in Women Health Studies and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In October 2008, Charmaine was awarded a scholarship from the Ministry of Education of Malta to conduct her PhD studies, she then joined the Faculty of Behavioural & Social Sciences, at the University of Groningen (RuG).
She is a member of the International Academy of Sex Research (IASR), the World Association of Sexual Health (WAS), the European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM) and the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) and has been invited by several local and international associations to disseminate her research. Charmaine featured on a Dutch TV program and her research reached international media (e.g., TIME magazine, ABC news, Scientific American, Huffington Post etc.) During her PhD studies she was honored with the Experimental Psychopathology Research School (EPP) annual article prize and a presentation prize from a national sex association. Charmaine is continuing on her line of research at the University of Groningen, since January 2013.

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