What to Do When You Experience Pain During Intercourse

Peg Walsh APRN Uncategorized

Pain During Sex? Don’t Panic, Get Help.

There are many reasons why women may experience pain during intercourse. Many of these reasons can be eliminated. I urge you NOT TO ACCEPT PAINFUL intercourse as a hopeless condition or to accept the judgement of medical professionals who tell you it is all in your mind. If you have enjoyed sex in your life, don’t let it slip away without doing more investigation. Relationships can be severely disadvantaged by a woman and her partner withdrawing from intercourse due to pain.

Many couples have discovered outercourse, where they mutually self pleasure without intercourse and it can be very satisfying and very intimate.  However, most often what happens is that couples begin to turn away from each other sexually, she because she doesn’t want to hurt in her most private of parts, he because he feels like a rapist when he tries to penetrate and she is involuntarily grimacing or holding herself rigid in anticipation of the pain of penetration.  

Women Experience Pain at All Ages

Note that pelvic pain happens to young women as well as older women. This is not only a menopause issue. Menopause causes the vagina to dry and become thinner and more fragile due to the reduction in estrogen. Many times older women do not lubricate even if they are aroused. In any case using an appropriate lubricant will make intercourse much more comfortable. There’s a variety of lubricants available. Many people use Astroglide  or KY. However there are many better available . Here is the link to a pamphlet reporting the research by a Urologist and Sex Therapist about the characteristics and brands of good lubricants: https://sexualityresources.com/sites/default/files/documents/Lubricant18.pdf

Visit an OBGYN

Sometimes despite adequate lubrication women continue to have difficulty during intercourse despite being aroused. When this happens it is a good idea, if they haven’t already, to contact a gynecologist and have a thorough evaluation. Not all gynecologists are equal in their interest in sexual pleasure of their clients. It is useful to find somebody who will take the time to talk about pleasure and pain issues. Sometimes there are underlying conditions that cause intercourse to be painful, for instance Interstitial cystitis or  tight pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles that are tight or which spasm are often at fault when intercourse is painful. Specially trained physical therapists can work amazing miracles to enable the woman to bring her pelvic floor into dynamic balance so intercourse stops hurting.

Sex Therapy Can be Tremendously Helpful

Sex therapy and couples therapy are useful to help a couple unwind the dysfunctional communication, hurt feelings and behavioral patterns that have developed to cope with the avoidance of pelvic pain. It is useful to do sex therapy and sometimes couples therapy simultaneously with Pelvic Floor PT for optimal outcomes.

I urge you not to give up on your sexual self.  In my opinion, vibrant sexual health is important for a solid sense of well being. Call today for an appointment to discuss your concerns.