Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia/Vulvadynia) Therapy

Women's Care Services

Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia)

At times, sexual intercourse can be painful for women. The root could be found in psychological or physical aspects, but the cause of these discomforts can come from many different places. Living with dyspareunia can be physically uncomfortable; however, it may affect your sexual relationship, as well. Anticipating pain during sex may cause you to avoid it. Not only can the act of sexual intercourse be physically painful, but it could also take an emotional toll on you when the pain arises. It could cause you to be self conscious, experience anxiety, fall into depression, and many other psychological issues.

Should I Attend Counseling?

  • If sexual abuse, trauma, or other emotional issues are the root cause of the painful intercourse, counseling may help.
  • Women whose dyspareunia does not have a psychological cause may also benefit from counseling by learning to cope with the emotional consequences of painful or difficult intercourse.
  • Couples may attend counseling together if painful intercourse is leading to communication or intimacy issues.

Dyspareunia's Effect on Partners:

Dyspareunia and Vaginitis can affect more than just yourself. It can also have an effect on your partner. Overcoming Dyspareunia as a couple can be rewarding, as it can strengthen a couple's bond and provide restoration in the relationship.

Examples of how a partner may feel:

  • Rejection- "Why doesn't she want me?"
  • Empathy- "I feel so badly for my wife. She is going through so much pain."
  • Guilt- "I feel guilty for wanting to have sex with her, because I know it hurts her."
  • Anger- "It makes me mad when she ignores me and pushes me away."
  • Frustration- "What about me? I have feelings too."
  • Confusion- "I do not understand. Marriage is supposed to involve sex, but we can't do it."
  • Fear- "I am so scared, because I don't want to live forever in a sexless relationship."
  • Distancing- "It's hard to be around my wife right now."

Psychological Causes

Some common emotional and psychological factors can play a role in painful intercourse.

  • Anxiety, fear, and depression can inhibit sexual arousal and cause to vaginal dryness or vaginismus
  • Stress can cause a tightening of the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause pain

A history of sexual abuse or sexual violence may contribute to Dyspareunia and Vulvadenia.

Physical Causes

Some physical issues could be the cause of pain during sexual intercourse.

  • vaginal dryness
  • vaginismus
  • genital injury
  • inflammation or infection
  • abnormalities at birth
  • skin disorders or irritation