Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Making sense of the pain of sexual intercourse: Personal accounts of Chinese married women
Author(s): Ng, Anna Hoi Nga 
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Brill
Related Publication(s): Pain without boundaries: Inquiries across cultures
Start page: 115
End page: 122
This chapter employs a qualitative method to explore the experiences of 13 married heterosexual Hong Kong-Chinese women who experienced severe pain or expected pain upon having vaginal penetration. Their pattern of resistance upon penetration and their emotional reactions upon facing the pain of penetration are explored. Eleven of them showed mild resistance by withdrawing their body and pushing husbands away to stop the penetration. Two of them resisted drastically upon penetration by screaming, crying, pushing, or even hitting their husbands upon penetration. The findings suggest that women’s motivation to overcome the pain was affected by various factors: 1) their body’s health status; 2) the quality of their marital relationship; 3) their nearness to the child bearing age; and 4) their changing sexual attitudes. The study informs us that we should not assume that women who complain about the pain of penetration are merely having problems with their vagina. Rather, we should ask: What is the pain about? Is the pain sexual? Is sex painful? In what ways is sex painful? Is the expectation of pain the most painful? We should also take into account the intensity and quality of the reported pain. An additional finding is that none of the women interviewed thought that their lack of sexual desire for their husbands might also cause their difficulty in having penetrative sex and, thus, the associated pain. Their lack of attention to physical desire and sensation reflects that sexual intercourse should not be assumed to happen naturally right after marriage. The changing embodied experiences of such women can also inform us about the particular meanings of their resistance to sexual intercourse and how this resistance may be influenced by different social forces.
DOI: 10.1163/9781848883161_012
CIHE Affiliated Publication: Yes
Appears in Collections:HL Publication

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
View Online157 BHTMLView/Open
SFX Query Show full item record

Google ScholarTM




Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.