Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful sexual intercourse in both
women and men, and is estimated to be experienced by about 15 percent of adult women on a few occasions per
year and by one to two percent of adult women more often. I have found no
statistics for how many men are affected and would be glad to include these if
someone else finds them.
Dyspareunia can best be categorised by where the pain is felt.
EXTERNAL (OR SUPERFICIAL) DYSPAREUNIA
External dyspareunia is felt most commonly as a dry, burning sensation. The
most usual reason for feeling this pain is a lack of lubrication, and either
more foreplay to encourage the production of natural lubrication, or the use of
an artificial lubricant, or both will assist in
fixing the problem.
Some of the causes of lack of vaginal lubrication are:
A less common but more serious cause of external dyspareunia is a yeast
infection. If you are having itching, burning or a feeling of dryness during
intercourse it is a very good idea to seek medical advice at once. (See thrush
for a further discussion of vaginal yeast infections)
There are other physical reasons for external dyspareunia. Some of them are:
Many women feel occasional discomfort with deep sexual penetration. It is
believed that this may be a normal response of delicate organs attempting to
protect themselves from too rough treatment. The solution is to avoid
penetration which is too deep by choosing a sexual position which minimises
Some other, more serious but less common causes of deep dyspareunia are:
*Women who have or develop an allergy to their partner's semen are rare, but
the condition is serious. Some women have gone into deep shock from this
Any of these problems is very serious so if the pain persists you should
seek medical advice to rule these problems out.
As stated at the beginning of this article, men as well as women can
experience dyspareunia. Some of the causes of male dyspareunia are:
- lack of lubrication
- inflammation or infection of
- frenulum breve
- Peyone's Disease
- trauma such as
- being scratched by the tail of an IUD
- allergy and irritation to
- washing detergents used to wash underclothes
As you can see, it is impossible to have one treatment plan for a condition
with such a wide range of causes. The best course to take when experiencing dyspareunia
is to eliminate less serious problems, such as lack of lubrication, and if
this does not completely resolve the problem, to seek medical advice.