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What is Dyspareunia?

Dyspareunia is the name for difficult or painful sexual intercourse. Once medical causes have been ruled out or addressed, you might want to consider counselling or sex therapy to address the emotional side of things.

Pain during sexual activity can be upsetting both emotionally and physically. When something as natural as sex does not seem to be working properly, its can be frustrating, disappointing, stressful, or embarrassing.

You don’t need to keep struggling with solutions that don’t fix the problem. A professional therapist specializing in sexuality can help you get to the root of the problem so that your sex life can become more satisfying.

What causes Dyspareunia?

Sexual activity can feel painful as a result of medical conditions, skin irritations, partner variables, problems with arousal, thought processes, or emotional responses.
Painful sexual experiences can also cause emotional distress, such as anxiety about future pain. Anxiety can impact your arousal and enjoyment, thereby further exacerbating the pain.

This can lead to an avoidance of sexual activity, which can negatively impact your quality of life or that of your romantic relationships.

Difficult emotions can also start the pain cycle. For example, if you feel awkward, shy, guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed about sexual activity, this can make it hard for you to feel relaxed, which is necessary for arousal. Lack of arousal can lead to vaginal dryness, which can cause sexual pain.
Partner variables can also lead to sexual pain. For example, if your partner takes a long time to orgasm, and the sexual activity goes on for too long, you may also start to experience pain from extended activity.

Can Sexual Pain (Dyspareuia) be treated?

Speaking to your family doctor or gynecologist is a good place to start, so that you can have a physical exam to address any underlying conditions that may be causing you pain.

You may also wish to seek counselling or sex therapy so that you can address the emotions that may be evoking or exacerbating your pain. If you have been avoiding sexual activity, you can learn ways to communicate your needs and desires to your partner, so that you can reduce pain and increase your pleasure (and desire) for sexual activity.

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