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Female sexual  problems tend to fall into four broad categories. These are:

· Lack of desire or libido

· Difficulty with arousal

· Difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm

· Pain caused by sexual intercourse

The four are sometimes intertwined creating a multi-faceted sexual health problem, even though they may all have a common source. Here, we are addressing the problem of painful sexual intercourse which can be so bad as to affect the woman’s fertility.

Dyspareunia (Painful intercourse):

Dyspareunia is the medical term to describe painful sexual intercourse. It is estimated that at least 1 in 10 sexually active women suffer a significant degree of painful intercourse (dyspareunia).  The classification of dyspareunia is either based on timing of onset or the location of pain.

As mentioned earlier, painful sexual intercourse can also be classified according to location of the pain. In this regard there is:

Some women will experience both superficial and deep dyspareunia.

Causes of painful sexual intercourse:

Let’s start with primary dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse):

Many young women will find that from the moment they start being sexually active, any attempt at penetrative sex causes pain. Initially this may be dismissed as due to lack of experience but when it persists, there is a build up of frustration and anxiety. This, of-course feeds into the problem and will tend to make it worse. So, what could are the causes?

Most women suffering from primary dyspareunia will be found to have vaginismus.

Causes of secondary dyspareunia

As mentioned earlier, painful intercourse is classified as primary or secondary depending on timing of onset. For a woman who starts experiencing painful intercourse after months or years of problem-free sexual experience, she will be said to suffer from secondary dyspareunia.

Causes of primary dyspareunia mentioned above can start at any time and therefore they can cause secondary dyspareunia as well.

Vaginismus described above. It is unusual for this to cause secondary dyspareunia but is by no means impossible. There are cases of vaginismus which are seen affecting women who have had a trouble-free sex life previously. Careful history taking will usually reveal an event or events which might have triggered this. Rape and other forms of sex abuse come to mind.

Other causes of secondary dyspareunia include:

Management of painful intercourse: Next Page

Dyspareunia is very distressing

Painful sexual intercourse can be psychologically debilitating. It should be investigated properly and thoroughly to get a resolution

Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia)