Painful Sex: Why You May Be Experiencing It and Remedies To Explore
Music is playing, candles are lit, and romance is in the air.
You’re in the mood, and your partner is in the mood, but your body is screaming, “Wait!”
You turn off the music, blow out the candles, and stomp away, thinking, “Why does it hurt when having sex?”
Unfortunately, painful sex is something many women experience, but there are things you can do to make it pain-free and enjoyable.
Keep reading because, in this article, you will understand why sex can become painful for some women and the steps to take to overcome painful sex.
Table of Contents
- Why Is It Painful To Have Sex?
- Is Painful Sex Normal?
- Understanding the Types of Pain Experienced During Sex May Help Determine the Cause
- 11 Potential Reasons Why Sex Is Painful
- What Can Be Done To Overcome Painful Sex?
- Chiavaye: Helping Women Understand Why Sex Is Painful and How To Make It More Enjoyable
Why Is It Painful To Have Sex?
"Dyspareunia" is the medical term that refers to painful sex. The condition of dyspareunia is characterized by recurrent or persistent pain during sexual activity.
Several factors can contribute to dyspareunia, including:
- A physical problem; or
- A psychological problem
Is Painful Sex Normal?
While it is more common than many women realize, it is not considered normal.
In the U.S., approximately 10% to 20% of women suffer from this disease.
Understanding the Types of Pain Experienced During Sex May Help Determine the Cause
When you experience pain during sex, the reason you’re experiencing pain can depend on where the pain is located.
Let’s take a closer look at the two locations that can cause painful sex.
Entry Pain During Sex
Entry pain is also known as intraorbital or superficial dyspareunia. This pain is felt at the entrance to the vagina during initial penetration.
Some factors associated with entry pain include:
- Lack of lubrication
- Injury; or
Deep Pain During Sex
Deep pain is known as collision dyspareunia. This pain occurs with deep penetration and can feel worse in certain sexual positions. You will feel this pain in the cervix or lower abdomen.
Deep sexual pain is usually caused by a medical condition or prior surgery.
11 Potential Reasons Why Sex Is Painful
#1: Not Enough Lubrication
If your vagina is not lubricated during sex, vaginal dryness can cause pain.
Several factors can contribute to dryness, including:
- Not feeling aroused
- Feeling stressed
- Having recently given birth
- Trauma; and
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It should be enjoyable to have sex. Having pain changes the whole vibe of sex, and not in a positive way.
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#2: Injury or Trauma
Just like you can injure an arm or a leg, you can also hurt your pelvic region.
For example, if you have rough sex while dry or with a large object or penis, your vagina may become injured. This type of injury can lead to painful sex in the future.
In addition, a new or old injury, such as hitting the crossbar of a bike during a recent ride or when you were a child, may also result in painful sex.
#3: Irritation or Infection
Bacterial or yeast infections can cause vaginal irritation, making sex painful. Infections caused by bacteria include sexually transmitted diseases (i.e., chlamydia, gonorrhea) and bacterial vaginosis.
In addition to bacterial or yeast infections, vaginal or urinary tract infections can cause pain during sex. Any infection inflates the targeted area of your body, so too much touch can irritate it quickly.
You can take antibiotics and other medicines if you want to reduce this pain and get rid of the infection. Please speak with your doctor before beginning any medication.
Vaginismus is a psychological reaction to penetration.
Some women are afraid of having anything inside their bodies. Consequently, the muscles in the vagina tighten unintentionally, which is not the woman's fault.
A great deal of pain and distress can be associated with this condition, and sexual trauma may be associated with it.
Getting comfortable again may be possible with the help of a therapist or counselor, along with your doctor.
#5: Cysts or Fibroids
There are two types of ovarian cysts, one that grows on one of the ovaries and one that grows on both. Lower back pain can occur around your pelvic area because of both.
With birth control therapy or surgery, ovarian cysts can be removed or diminished.
In addition, many women suffer from intense pain caused by fibroids in their uterus and nearby reproductive system areas. During childbearing years, fibroids commonly appear in the uterus as noncancerous growths.
Fibroids can be treated with laparoscopic surgery.
#6: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Females with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often experience pain during intercourse and other sexual dysfunction. When deep penetration occurs during sex, pain is more likely to occur.
Additionally, people with IBS report difficulty getting aroused and having a lack of sexual desire. The result is insufficient lubrication in women, which can make sex painful for them as well.
If you're going through menopause, you may find that sex doesn't feel quite the same as it used to. The most common cause of this is vaginal thinning and dryness.
However, two other medical issues associated with menopause can affect how sex feels. These include:
- Less estrogen — As estrogen levels increase in the female body, vaginal lubrication is produced, ultimately increasing sexual drive. So less estrogen leads to less lubrication.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction — This occurs when you have trouble relaxing and coordinating the muscles in your pelvic floor to urinate or go to the bathroom.
In endometriosis, cells that resemble the uterus lining grow in other places in the body, including the:
- Fallopian tubes; or
Sometimes, these growths can make sex painful, especially if it grows near the cervix or vaginal walls. Along with pain during sex, heavy menstrual bleeding is another symptom of endometriosis.
Having extreme pain in the vulva and vaginal area for an extended period is a sign of this condition.
Various factors can cause it, such as:
- Touching the area
- Sex; and
In order to find relief from vulvodynia, you will need a doctor's diagnosis and treatment.
#10: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Female reproductive organs are affected by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It occurs most frequently when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your:
- Fallopian tubes; or
In addition, health conditions such as …
- Autoimmune diseases
- Stress; and
- Other conditions
… can cause this inflammation.
Painful sex is a common side effect of this condition.
#11: Postpartum Issues
Painful sex after childbirth is very common. There are usually two leading causes of this.
The first is low estrogen caused by fluctuating hormone levels, which may be exacerbated by breastfeeding, leading to dryness and low libido (sex drive).
A second cause is pelvic floor dysfunction, which is caused by muscles in the pelvic floor that are too tight or too weak. Pregnancy often causes your pelvic floor muscles to weaken due to extra pressure.
Additionally, if you had …
- An episiotomy; or
- A c-section
… scar tissue may be pulling on your muscles.
What Can Be Done To Overcome Painful Sex?
When it comes to overcoming pain during sex, depending on what is causing the pain, there are several things you can do.
Please be aware that if you feel something is wrong or just isn’t right, always speak with your doctor.
Using a lubricant is the easiest way to treat painful sex. Take a few drops for yourself and rub a few drops all over your partner so that you're both ready to go.
To desensitize the area, you can use the lubricant to massage your vaginal opening every day for a few weeks.
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In addition to keeping your vagina healthy, this lube can help reduce pain during sex and is an excellent massage oil.
Chiavaye may be the answer if you are suffering from pain during sex.
Try Different Positions
If you and your partner are usually in the same position, perhaps it is time to switch it up.
For example, if you have sharp pain during thrusting, try different positions, such as being on top. This position might allow you to regulate penetration depth to a comfortable level.
Is your painful sex due to tight muscles? If so, look into desensitization therapy.
This is when you learn techniques to help relax the vaginal muscles and decrease pain levels.
Kegels are one example of an exercise that strengthens the vagina.
Physical therapy that focuses on your pelvic floor is known as pelvic floor physical therapy.
Between your pubic bone and tailbone, your pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that are incredibly important. As well as supporting your pelvic organs, these muscles are also responsible for:
- Bladder and bowel control
- Supporting a baby during pregnancy; and
- Contributing to sexual sensations
When the muscles are too tight, this can lead to painful sex.
The pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened or relaxed as needed through physical therapy, just like other muscles.
Chiavaye: Helping Women Understand Why Sex Is Painful and How To Make It More Enjoyable
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The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.