EMDR treatment of sexual dysfunction


The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women within primary care settings is often estimated to be as high as 42% with vaginismus, pain with intercourse, anorgasmia and lack of sexual desire being most commonly reported. Additionally, major clinical complaints among women often centre on their dissatisfaction with such non-genital behaviours as affection, communication, and non-genital touching, as well as issues of attraction and passion. Despite this high prevalence of sexual disorders, and the use of psychotherapy and sexual therapy in treatment the problems women experience,this is a frequently neglected area of both research and development of new treatment tdchniques. In fact, referring to vaginismus, some authors conclude the basic strategies and methods for assessing and treating vaginismus were proposed by the early 20th Century and have not essentially changed. This paper discusses an alternative approach to treatment vaginismus and "sexual phobia" in women. By way of case study material, the use of EMDR in combination with sensate focus techniques with partner involvement, is discussed. In a significant number of cases, past trauma and severe body image disturbances were detected. EMDR was successful not only in resolving such trauma, but also in correcting distorted body image and enabling imaginary exposure to appropriate sexual behaviour.






Manda Holmshaw

Original Work Citation

Holmshaw, M. (2001, May). EMDR treatment of sexual dysfunction. Presentation at the 2nd EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England



“EMDR treatment of sexual dysfunction,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 4, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19175.

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