PAINFUL SEX: A stop sign to sexual pleasure

Humans are strange, albeit fascinating creatures. Whilst some people seek to pair pain with sex voluntarily, there are men and women that experience pain during sex that would most certainly choose not to (if that were a choice they had).

Painful sex or dyspareunia are terms used by health professionals to gain a deeper understanding of a human experience that can be confusing and troubling. Dyspareunia can present internally, externally or both and the causes of it vary. Childbirth, trauma to the genitals, unwanted sexual experiences, psychological distress around sex, dryness, infections, chronic medical conditions, scarring, fear/anxiety and vaginismus (a spasm or contraction of the muscles that surround the vagina) can all be possible sources. Later on down the track, anticipating the pain can be a cause of the pain and a frustrating cycle continues.

Not knowing how to approach sex from the beginning of the sexual pain problem leads some down a path of aversion –

If something that was pleasurable now causes pain, I just won’t do it anymore…

This is logical reasoning on a part of the individual but what a loss to miss out on sexual contact and connection because of a condition that can be helped by select professionals.

Admittedly, the term painful sex is a bit of a misnomer as it only references the pain that occurs during sex. It can arise at other times also but it is usually during sex that it is most noticeable, painful and problematic and this leaves a sufferer open to a wild goose chase to find possible solutions and remedies. With time though, general practitioners, physiotherapists, gynaecologists, pain specialists and sexologists are becoming valuable sources of information and support so taking that first, courageous step to find help may mean that you are stepping closer to a better quality of life.  

There is no magic wand to eradicating long-term sexual pain however there are opportunities to explore how your pain could become more manageable so that it no longer dictates what type of sex life you have. For personalised guidance about sexual pain, libido, sex drive, sexual conflicts and sex in long-term relationships, go to my sessions page.

Lauren xo

*Photo credits to Laura Zalenga Photography*