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.