Sexual scripts on vaginismus: rewriting women’s sexual difficulties from their point of view

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Student: Yeliz Turan Yunusoğlu



The purpose of the current study was to explore cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic sexual scripts framing vaginismus in Turkey and situate women’s personal experiences of vaginismus in the patriarchal discourse rather than putting them into health and illness domain. In order to better capture women’s subjective experiences of vaginismus, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 women who overcame vaginismus in the recent past in Turkey. In analyzing data, thematic analysis was used and feminist research practices were reflected upon research behavior. Six overarching sexual scripts at the cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic levels were identified from participants’ reports. These sexual scripts included (1) fear and (2) virginity at the cultural level; (3) sexual incompatibility and (4) sexual performance at the interpersonal level; (5) sexual inhibition and (6) social comparison at the intrapsychic level. The results suggested that sexual scripts at three different levels were highly infected with sexual double standards, which had detrimental impact on women’s sexual health and satisfaction. The results were discussed in terms of their implications for individual transformation and social change and they reflect the need for studying women’s sexual problems from an interdisciplinary framework whereby the myths and discourses on female sexuality can be revealed.