‘My partner will think I’m weak or overthinking my pain’: how being superwoman inhibits Black women’s sexual pain disclosure to their partners

Jardin N. Dogan, Shemeka Y. Thorpe, Natalie Malone, Jasmine Jester, Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Candice Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Black women experience persistent sexual pain that may often last longer than White women. Despite the value of sexual communication to alleviate sexual pain concerns, many women do not disclose sexual pain to their partners. Limited research explores barriers to disclosing sexual pain to partners among Black women. This study seeks to fill this gap. Relying on an integration of Sexual Script theory and Superwoman Schema, the study explored the barriers that premenopausal, cisgender Black women from the Southern USA perceived when disclosing sexual pain to their primary partners. We identified five common themes from women’s open-ended responses to an online survey: (a) distressing emotions associated with disclosure; (b) limited knowledge and communication skills; (c) protecting partner’s feelings and ego; (d) invading privacy; and (e) taking sole responsibility for managing sexual pain. Findings suggest a combination of intrapsychic, interpersonal and cultural factors influence Black women’s perceived ability to have direct and open dyadic communication about sexual pain with their partners. Implications for Black women’s sexual health and relationship outcomes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Black women
  • partner communication
  • Sexual pain
  • sexual scripts
  • Superwoman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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