If you’re experiencing pain during arousal, that’s called dyspareunia and it could be a sign of underlying issues. It’s worth bringing up to your doctor, as sex should be pleasurable, not painful!
Dyspareunia is pain around the genital area, during or after orgasm. This type of pain is most common in women and can occur due to many physical, emotional and psychological factors.
Lack of lubrication
Using plenty of lubrication during sexual intercourse is very important. The lack of lubrication can lead to pain and discomfort, especially during orgasms. A lubricant can also prevent friction that causes pain in the vulva and penis during penetration. Adding a water-soluble lubricant such as Aspergillosis, Astroglide or Replens can make the experience more comfortable for both partners.
Women with pain during sex (called dyspareunia) may have gynecological issues that require medical treatment. Conditions that can cause pelvic pain include endometriosis, uterine prolapse, adenomyosis, retroverted uterus, uterine fibroids and irritable bowel syndrome. Some surgeries or medical treatments can also cause sex pain, including hysterectomy and radiation therapy.
Some sex problems can be caused by psychological or emotional reasons. Having a history of abuse, unresolved trauma or fear of intimacy can all contribute to sex pain. Seeing a sex therapist and working through the underlying emotions can help.
If the pain is a result of low estrogen, there are some medications that can be used to increase the level. These drugs come in tablet, cream and flexible ring form and act like estrogen to create a thicker lining and lubricate the vagina. Another option is to try a prescription lubricant that acts as an artificial estrogen such as ospemifene or clomiphene. In addition to these prescription medicines, using a water-based lubricant and having sex when you are not hungry or tired can improve the quality of your experience.
Vaginismus is a condition that causes spasming of the muscles around the vagina. This makes it difficult or impossible for a woman to insert her partner’s penis or tampon into the vagina, making sex and other activities with penetration painful, uncomfortable, or even impossible. This can also make it difficult for women to undergo gynecological exams or other medical procedures. Some people have a lifelong case of vaginismus, but others experience it as a reaction to certain events, such as having a baby, menopause, or pelvic surgery.
People with this condition can still become sexually aroused and may be able to reach orgasm with clitoral stimulation, but they cannot get an orgasm from penetration. In some cases, the spasms only happen when the object is in the area of the vaginal opening, while in other cases, they occur in many parts of the body.
While doctors do not know exactly what causes vaginismus, it is thought that anxiety plays a role. It is not clear if anxiety is the cause or the result of vaginismus, but it seems to increase the symptoms.
Some women who have vaginismus are able to overcome it, and treatment is usually very simple. It includes a series of exercises, including Kegels, to help control and relax the muscles around the vagina. It can also include exercises with cone-shaped dilators that are gradually inserted into the vagina.
If sex is painful, women may stop engaging in this intimate activity and could even end up avoiding it altogether. This can have many negative effects on a relationship and is definitely not the best way to start or end it.
There are many reasons why sex may be painful. It may be caused by a lack of foreplay, certain medications or hormonal changes. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection from sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea and scarring from surgery or medical treatments can also cause pain during sex.
Pain during sex can also be caused by psychological and emotional factors. Stress, anxiety and low self-esteem can all make women tense up during sex and can contribute to cramping pain. This is especially true for women who have experienced trauma in their past or are fearful of the intimacy associated with sex.
Women who experience pain during sex are encouraged to focus on strategies that can decrease their anxiety. This may include cognitive behavior therapy techniques like challenging negative thoughts and assumptions, as well as relaxation training and stress management. Keeping the mind at ease allows women to engage in intimate activities with a sense of calm that opens the door for arousal and pleasure. Women can also learn pelvic floor exercises that are designed to help alleviate vaginismus and other painful conditions.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Many women and people AFAB who have sex have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It’s caused when bacteria from a sexually transmitted infection, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, get into the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. PID can lead to severe pain during sex and affect your fertility. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any PID symptoms you have, including pain or tenderness in the pelvic area and abnormal vaginal discharge that has a yellow or green color or unusual odor.
The bacteria that cause PID usually enter the uterus through the vagina or the neck of the womb (cervix) but can spread higher up. These infections can also be caused by other things, such as an infection after a medical procedure that involves your cervix or pregnancy.
To diagnose PID, your doctor will ask you about your sexual history and examine you. Your doctor may order blood tests, an ultrasound of your uterus, or a laparoscopy to find out if you have the infection. Treatment for PID includes antibiotics. You can lower your risk of getting an infection by using condoms during sex and not having multiple partners. After you’re treated, you should continue to use condoms and avoid unprotected sex to prevent the infection from coming back. Getting diagnosed and treated quickly can help you recover faster and avoid long-term problems.