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Painful Sexual Intercourse

Abstract: Overview of different kinds of painful sexual intercourse, with links to articles about causes and treatment.

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Painful Sexual Intercourse

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, psychologist in charge of Emergis, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 05 Apr 2009.

Describe painful sexual intercourse, its causes and treatment.


In general you make love for fun because it feels good. But it can happen that it doesn't feel good anymore and it even hurts. The cause of the pain is often unknown and the solution for it also. Due to the pain the person often doesn't want to make love anymore or does make love, but with a lot a pain. This means that the desire to make love is often reduced.

The pain can be present at various moments of the love play and often feels burning, cutting or stinging. This problem occurs more often in women. There are two sorts of pain in women: superficial and deep pain. When there is superficial pain in the sexual contact there is pain in the outer or inner labia or at the entrance to the vagina. For some women the pain is so strong that they also experience pain at every touch in this area, e.g when inserting and removing tampons, in gynaecological investigations, when riding a bicycle or when sitting on a hard surface. The gynaecologist can sometimes induce the pain by touching the area with a wet cotton stick. The pain then feels the same as when making love.

With deep pain the woman has a painful feeling deeper in the abdomen when making love, sometimes described as 'at the bladder' or 'at the ovaries'. The pain is often experienced as dull, stinging or pressing. However, the superficial pain occurs more often and has a physical cause less often.

Men can also have pain while making love.

Also read the articles about vestibulitis and vaginismus linked below.

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