When Sex is Painful

July 16, 2023
Lisa P. Otey, MD

Pain during Sex

Pain during sexual intercourse is called dyspareunia. Three out of 4 women experience pain during sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. The pain is only momentary for some; while for others, the problem is long-term. If the pain is not temporary then you should consult a Houston Gynecologist.

A lack of desire or arousal can lead some women to have pain during sex. The normal arousal response actually prepares the vagina for intercourse by moistening or lubricating the vagina. If there is no adequate arousal then this can lead to a dry vagina which can cause pain during sex.

Common Causes of a decreased sexual response

There are a number of reasons why women experience pain during intercourse. The following are among the most common reasons:

Your State of Mind: Sexual reaction is closely associated with your state of mind. Embarrassment, shame, fear, guilt, awkwardness are examples of emotions that may lead to the woman’s difficulty in relaxing during sex. When one cannot relax during sex, one is unlikely to get arouse and this absence of arousal can result to pain during intercourse. Other than the negative emotions, fatigue and stress can affect arousal and necessarily contributes to pain during intercourse.

Medications: A lot of medication can lead to lack of sexual desire and arousal. Medications that are proven to lower sexual responses are antidepressants and drugs used for treatment of migraines and high blood pressure. Medications that serve as androgens like some birth control pills, injectable birth control method, some drugs used to treat endometriosis may reduce sexual desire and arousal due to the fact that androgens are found to play an important role in sexual response. In addition, pain reliefs or medications have also been known to lower sexual desire and arousal.

Medical and Surgical Conditions: Some medical conditions have been associated with lowering of sexual desire and arousal. These medical conditions include diabetes, arthritis, thyroid and cancer. Women who have undergone certain surgery also found that such procedure affects their bodily image and their sexual response, as well.

Your Partner: Sexual act is collaborative activity. Thus, if one is troubled, the partner is affected. Erectile dysfunction of the inability of a man to achieve or maintain erection and premature ejaculation – the release of semen before the man or the woman partner wishes it ¬– are some of the partner problems that affect women. If a man is taking a medication for erectile dysfunction, he may experience delayed orgasm which may cause a long and painful intercourse on the part of the woman.

Self-Help Measures

There are a number of self-help measures for pain during sex to go away. Some measures entail the involvement of your partner, while other measures can be done alone.

Use of Lubricant: There are many lubricants in the market to choose from. If you experience vaginal sensitivity and irritation, it is best to opt for water-soluble lubricants. Silicone-based lubricants are also ideal as they tend to be slippery compared to water-soluble lubricants. These silicone-based lubricants also last longer. The use of baby oil, petroleum jelly and mineral oil with condoms are discouraged as these materials dissolve the latex and can result to condom breakage.

Time for Sex: Unsatisfying sex can be due to tiredness and anxiety. As such, set aside time when you and your partner are not anxious or tired.

Communicate with Your Partner: Explain to your partner when and where you feel pain during intercourse. Also tell your partner your preferred sexual activities or those that arouse you.

Try Non-Painful Sexual Acts: In case intercourse is painful, you and your partner may want to venture into mutual masturbation or oral sex.

Try Non-Sexual Activities: Be open to non-sexual yet sensual activities such as massage.

Try Pain-Relieving Steps: Prior to sexual intercourse, take extra steps to relieve pain such as emptying your bladder, taking a warm bath, or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.

How Can A Houston Gynecologist Help

If pain during intercourse becomes a normal thing for you or if the pain is severe, seek assistance from your health care provider. Pain during sex can be eradicated via surgery, medication and other forms of therapy.

You and your health care provider can collaborate to determine the exact cause for your pain. Your signs and symptoms, your medical and sexual history and results of findings from physical examinations are valuable information to find out the cause of your pain. Your health care provider may also inquire detailed information from you about your pain.

Contact us by phone or web to make a same day appointment to discuss your specific needs. We’re always happy to hear from you!