Dyspareunia or Pain in Sexual Intercourse

April 3, 2018

Have you ever experienced pain during sexual intercourse? It is a sexual dysfunction associated with dyspareunia. But what is dyspareunia? And the most importantly… is there anything we can do to try to keep it from happening?

The answers to these questions will be found in this article. The reality is that having a satisfying sex life is an important part of our overall well-being. Therefore, it’s important that if we experience these problems, we try to fix them.

What is dyspareunia?

Dyspareunia is a group of sexual alterations. The defining characteristic is experiencing pain during sexual intercourse. But when? This discomfort may appear either before, during or after sex.

“As happens with memory, if sex is not used, it disappears”

-Eduardo Punset-

Dyspareunia, pain during sex.

That is, it can occur both during the arousal, penetration or intercourse phases, as well as when reaching orgasm or when ejaculating. For women, for example, there is a dysfunction that falls within this category: vaginismus.

Vaginismus is a set of involuntary contractions of the muscles of the upper third of the vagina. The result is that the opening of the vagina is partially or totally closed, so penetration becomes difficult or impossible.

What are the causes of pain during sex?

The reality is that there are various causes of dyspareunia. In men, the most common are due to some type of infection of the urinary system, phimosis or sexually transmitted disease, among others. That is, dyspareunia usually comes from a biological factor.

In women, however, the range of causes is broader. Among organic causes we find: low vaginal lubrication, menopause, vaginal or clitoral infections, malformations or scars, or the use of spermicides or contraceptive creams that can irritate the genital area.

But it can also be due to psychological factors. The most prominent is inadequate sexual education, anxiety or fear surrounding intercourse (which may be due to previous traumatic experiences) or a lack of sexual arousal. The latter may be because there is not enough time for the vaginal lubrication to happen properly.

What can we do to reduce pain during sexual sex?

If the causes are psychological, the first thing will be to seek sexual education — in general and about our particular problem. Then we can change the negative attitudes we have towards pain during sex, and sexuality. Next comes custom training from a psychologist, about self-exploration as well as penetration.

“Is sex dirty? Only when it’s being done right”.

-Woody Allen-

 

Two people kissing underwater.

Having said that, if the causes of our dyspareunia are biological or organic, we can see a doctor. This way, if it’s due to a drug, like certain antihistamines, you may be able to switch to a medication without such side effects. If it is due to an infection or STD, a specialist can recommend appropriate treatment.

In short, dyspareunia can lead to great emotional, psychological and physical discomfort. That’s why, if this is you, it’s so important to get the help of a qualified professional. Choosing a good psychologist to help you overcome this problem is fundamental, since having a satisfying sex life is one of the greatest sources of pleasure and has positive effects throughout your entire body, even — and especially — in your emotions.

Images courtesy of Matheus Ferrero, Henri Meilhac and Matt Mck.