Is your sex life being ruined by pain and discomfort? It’s time to face the elephant in the room: painful sex is not normal. Seeking information and answers if you’re feeling discomfort during penetration or soreness afterward, is crucial. The good news is that we are here to answer all your questions.
Causes of painful sex
It’s time to learn about some of the more common causes behind uncomfortable sex:
- Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness, which is frequently caused by hormonal fluctuations (for example the menopause) and can result in uncomfortable sex.
- Vaginismus: Vaginismus is the involuntary contraction of pelvic muscles, which can be addressed with vaginismus treatment, and can lead to pain during penetrative sex (and even inserting tampons).
- Emotional worries: Stress, worry, relationship dynamics and past trauma can all have an impact on sexual comfort, which may lead to painful intercourse.
- Infections: Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are one of the leading causes of pain during sex.
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a disorder in which the uterine lining develops outside of the uterus. It can lead to uncomfortable sex owing to inflammation and tissue adhesions.
Impact of painful sex on intimacy
Now that you know the causes behind painful sex, let us address how they affect our intimate lives:
The physical discomfort caused during sex can make it unenjoyable, if not excruciating. This can prevent you and your partner from completely engaging with one another and ruining the intimacy.
The emotional distress caused by painful sex can lead to anxiety, depressive thoughts and frustration. This can impact your desire for closeness, affecting your sex life as well as other aspects of your relationship.
All of the above points put pressure on a relationship which can lead to communication problems, diminished sexual pleasure, and a drop in overall relationship quality.
Treatment options for painful sex
The good news is that painful sex can usually be treated effectively. Listed below are the most common approaches to treatment, though these vary depending on the cause of the issue:
1. Medical interventions
Medical intervention provides a variety of effective therapies for pain during sex. Hormone replacement treatment, for example, can relieve vaginal dryness and restore lubrication for women going through menopause. Similarly, antibiotics or antifungals can treat infections, and vaginal lubricants can relieve friction during penetrative intercourse.
For women suffering with vaginismus, your healthcare professional may suggest vaginismus treatment which involves Botox injections into the muscles around the vagina to prevent them from contracting and making penetration painful. This may sound unusual but has been proven to be incredibly effective, especially when combined with dilators and counselling.
Consultations with your healthcare practitioner can help in determining the best medical measures for you.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapy focuses on the muscles and tissues of the pelvic region, which play a critical role in sex. Kegels, which target the vaginal and pelvic floor, can strengthen and improve muscular control, improving overall sexual comfort.
3. Psychological support
Psychological support can be a critical tool in dealing with sex that is painful, particularly when it is due to prior trauma or emotional stress. It can provide a safe environment to examine and process these experiences. Couples can seek treatment from therapists to manage the emotional effect of painful sex, develop coping mechanisms, and increase communication to rebuild intimacy in their relationship.
Talking with your partner about your desires, worries and preferences openly can create a deeper understanding between you. Additionally, making lifestyle changes such as practising good hygiene, checking regularly for STIs, maintaining vaginal health, managing stress levels, and regular exercise can lead to a healthier and more comfortable sexual experience.
No more painful sex
Pain during sex is not normal. It can have a negative influence on your relationship and self-esteem, causing mental pressure in addition to physical suffering. However, there is hope. Treatments for painful sex are available. Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it, as dealing with the problem swiftly and effectively can lead to a happier, healthier sex life.