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5 Reasons Why Sex Hurts (And How to Talk about It)

Posted on March 04, 2021

Too many women ask why sex hurts? Did you know that one out of every five women experiences pain during intercourse? And three out of four women will experience pain during sex at least once in her life? But did you also know that this common problem is on you shouldn’t have to live with?

If you are experiencing painful sex (dyspareunia) it’s important to see your healthcare professional and seek treatment. Before you can seek treatment, however, you need to know what’s causing your pain. So, let’s take a look: what are some common triggers of painful sex?

5 Reasons Why Sex Hurts

1. Hormones

Certain hormonal changes, like the ones that come when you breastfeed or enter menopause, can leave you with vaginal dryness. If this is the case for you, adding lubricant can help make intercourse comfortable again.

2. Medical Conditions

There are several health problems that can make sex extremely painful. Some of the most common causes for painful sex include Uterine fibroids , Endometriosis, Pelvic inflammatory disease, IBS and Sexually transmitted infections.

3. Tight Muscles

If you’ve never been able to have sex without pain, you may have primary vaginismus, a condition in which the muscles of your vaginal canal spasm during intercourse, making penetration painful, if not impossible.

4. New Muscle Spasms

If painful sex is new to you, you still may have vaginismus. But your vaginal spasms could be triggered by secondary vaginismus if you’ve previously been able to enjoy sex without pain. This is a condition that impacts between 5 and 17% of women. And, while there’s no clear cause for this condition, it is often triggered by a difficult labor and delivery process, a vaginal infection or endometriosis.

5. Burning issues

Some women experience burning pain in their vaginal openings. If there’s no clear trigger for this pain you will likely be diagnosed with vulvodynia. Many women with this condition are in so much pain, they aren’t even able to use tampons without discomfort.

Discussing Painful Sex with your Partner Results after UFE

When sex hurts, it's hard for you. But it's also hard on your partner and your relationship. If you're dealing with this problem, intimacy is still possible. You and your partner just need to talk openly and honestly. Here are some tips for making that conversation easier.

First off, you should dedicate a specific time to talk. Remove all distractions like phones so you can truly focus on each other. Next, explain as much as you know about what's causing your painful sex. You could talk about the physical and emotional impact, and emphasize that as a result, you are less interested in sex, not in your partner.

Also, if it's helpful, bring your partner to your doctor’s appointment, so he or she can bring up questions and concerns. This could also help you feel like a united team.

Telling Your Doctor About Sex That Hurts

Let's face it: women are tough. Often, you're willing to put up with discomfort. And you might even get used to that pain. So you stop wondering why sex hurts, and just think that's your normal life.

Of course, sex should feel good. But how can you tell when painful sex is a temporary issue, or when it's a problem worth discussing with your doctor? Here are 5 ways you can tell that pain during sex could be a medical problem.

  1. The pain isn't just mild. It really hurts, and sex hurts almost every time you engage in intercourse.
  2. The pain is worse when penetration is deep. (This is a good clue you're dealing with fibroids.)
  3. It also hurts when you pee. (That could mean you've got an infection that needs immediate attention.)
  4. Lubrication doesn't make things feel better.
  5. You're avoiding sex or worrying sex hurting is impacting your relationship.

If any of these issues sounds familiar, it's time to ask your doctor why sex hurts? And, if you're lucky, you'll get some good answers, and reach the stage where sex feels good again.

How Can I Put a Stop to Painful Sex

With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, sex should stop hurting. In order to get that diagnosis, be open with your partner and your healthcare provider. And if you realize that uterine fibroids are to blame for your painful intercourse, seeking treatment should help you enjoy intimacy once again. But, before seeking that treatment, make sure you consider all your treatment options: especially minimally invasive treatments like Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Because, when fibroids impact your sex life, making an appointment with our Houston area fibroid specialists can help you find relief, and rediscover the joy of intimacy.

Sources:  American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Australian Study of Health and Relationships

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