18 November 2006

Vaginal stimulation and pain threshold

Elevation of pain threshold by vaginal stimulation in women.
Whipple B, Komisaruk BR.
In 2 studies with 10 women each, vaginal self-stimulation significantly increased the threshold to detect and tolerate painful finger compression, but did not significantly affect the threshold to detect innocuous tactile stimulation. The vaginal self-stimulation was applied with a specially designed pressure transducer assembly to produce a report of pressure or pleasure. In the first study, 6 of the women perceived the vaginal stimulation as producing pleasure. During that condition, the pain tolerance threshold increased significantly by 36.8% and the pain detection threshold increased significantly by 53%. A second study utilized other types of stimuli. Vaginal self-stimulation perceived as pressure significantly increased the pain tolerance threshold by 40.3% and the pain detection threshold by 47.4%. In the second study, when the vaginal stimulation was self-applied in a manner that produced orgasm, the pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased significantly by 74.6% and 106.7% respectively, while the tactile threshold remained unaffected. A variety of control conditions, including various types of distraction, did not significantly elevate pain or tactile thresholds. We conclude that in women, vaginal self-stimulation decreases pain sensitivity, but does not affect tactile sensitivity. This effect is apparently not due to painful or non-painful distraction.

Pain. 1985 Apr;21(4):357-67
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