Painful sex is strongly linked to other sexual problems.
Vaginal dryness, anxious feelings during sex, and lack of enjoyment of sex all contribute to painful sex, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In a survey of nearly 7,000 sexually active women ranging from ages 16 to 74, 7.5% reported that they were experiencing painful sex, Nearly a quarter of those who reported having experienced painful sex had also experienced symptoms frequently or every time they had had intercourse in the last six months.
This phenomena of pain in the vagina or deeper parts of the pelvis during or after sex is known as dyspareunia and affects every 1 in 10 women.
According to the researchers and doctors involved with this study, there are a variety of available treatments that can target the different physical, psychological and emotional factors that lead to painful sex. The major problem is that most woman are afraid or ashamed to seek out advice because they find the subject to be embarrassing and taboo.
Below are just a few of the causes of dyspareunia and simple ways to help make sex less painful.
What do cold medications, warm baths and the Pill all have in common? They are all capable of drying out vaginal tissue, leaving behind an unpleasant and scratchy sensation.
“A lack of lubrication is hands down the most common cause of painful sex,” said Dr. Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in an interview with Women’s Health Magazine.
Herbenick recommends using a lubricant before sex to avoid any pain or irritation.
Genital Allergic Reactions
Most people are unaware that they can have an allergic reaction down there but anything from fragranced soap, to latex condoms to your partner’s semen can cause genital irritation.
In order to avoid further irritation, try choosing synthetic-rubber or natural lambskin condoms. If you happen to be one of the 400,00 women in the U.S. who has a semen allergy, Dr. David J. Resnick, the director of allergy at New York Presbyterian Hospital recommends participating in a simple outpatient procedure. A doctor will insert diluted semen into your vagina over the course of a few hours to build up a desensitization. From there, patients will be advised to have intercourse every two to three days to build up a tolerance.
This chronic vulvar pain has no identifiable cause and can affect one or multiple areas of the vulva at the same time. According to the National Vulvodynia Association, this disorder affects up to 16 percent of women and is often misdiagnosed as a yeast infection.
There is currently no one-size-fits-all treatment for vulvodynia but lidocaine is often prescribed to help control nerve sensitivity. Research shows that the use of a vibrator can also serve as a temporary DIY method to alleviate the pain. It is recommended that women who suffer from vulvodynia opt to use fragrance-free soap.