Home » Disorders » Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder

Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder

For at least 6 months, a person experiences persistent or recurrent difficulties towards vaginal penetration manifested as at least one of the following:

  • Intense fear/anxiety in anticipation of, during, or as a result of vaginal intercourse
  • Actual pain experienced in pelvis or vulvovaginal area during attempted or as a result of vaginal penetration
  • Marked tensing or tightening of the lower pelvic/inner-abdominal muscles during attempted vaginal penetration

Diagnostic criteria requires that these symptoms cause the female significant distress.

This condition cannot be better attributed to:

  • A nonsexual mental disorder (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder)
  • Relationship distress (i.e., domestic violence)
  • Other life stressors impacting a person’s sexual desire
  • Any other medical condition

Symptoms may have appeared as soon as the person became sexually active or may begin after a period of normal sexual functioning.

The condition can be specified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the amount of subjective distress it causes.


Note: The organization and name of this disorder is new to the DSM-5; this is the updated version (diagnostic code 302.76). The page for Vaginismus that describes the old criteria (DSM-IV) is still available for historical purposes.


Johnna Medina, Ph.D.

Johnna Medina, Ph.D. is an author, researcher, and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently completing her postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine.

APA Reference
Medina, J. (2020). Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.