Dyspareunia is the pain experienced by men or women in the pelvic area during or shortly after sexual intercourse. The pain can come about during penetration, or once the penis gets an erection, or at ejaculation. When the pain is persistent, the person loses interest in sexual activity.
It is important to point out that for intercourse to be satisfactory there should be present the necessary physiological conditions. Both, men and women have to be sufficiently aroused. For a woman this means having enough vaginal lubrication and, for a man, getting a firm enough erection.
An indicative that a man is having a satisfactory experience is the emission of the Cooper glands by the urethra, drops of a transparent liquid that flows through the urinal meatus and it acts as a natural lubrication. The woman, on the other hand, notices how her vagina dampens.
Pain caused by sexual intercourse can be felt during penetration, with the penis movements in the vagina (or in the anus), and it usually appears after a more or less long of practicing sexual intercourse problems’ free.
Among the circumstantial causes of dyspareunia can be an inadequate lubrication, together with an insufficient erotic stimulation, for instance. In such cases it is very important to increase arousal with games and caresses… Relax. It is necessary that blood flows in the sexual organs, so the penis gets an erection and the vagina dilates and lubricates.
Sexual relations too soon after surgery or giving birth can cause some kind of dyspareunia. In the case of giving birth, it is estimated convenient to wait for at least 6 weeks after the birth of the baby before restarting sexual activity.
Another form of dyspareunia is genital irritation because of the use of some type of soaps, gels, showers or products for feminine or masculine hygiene. An obsession for cleanliness can produce frequent soreness. Let’s remember that the vulva has a natural flux and its smell is healthy and very characteristic. The anus, equally, can get sore very easily by the use of some products.
There are people who have allergy to latex of diaphragms and condoms, fetish objects, etc.
A type of dyspareunia that requires medical attention is by phimosis. It refers to the difficulty or impossibility to retract the foreskin. That is the skin that covers the tip or head of the penis.
Another type of dyspareunia is due to the penile tissue. The frenulum of prepuce of penis or frenulum preputii penis, is an elastic band of tissue under the glans penis that connects to the prepuce, or foreskin to the vernal mucosa, and helps contract the prepuce over the glans. If the frenulum is too short, it may cause pain when the penis is getting erect. Sometimes it makes the erection difficult or very painful. It may cause some lesions.
It can also be dyspareunia by Prostatitis or Inflammation of the prostate, as well as by Endometriosis. This is a benign illness that affects women during their reproductive life. It takes place when endometrial cells, identical to their “sisters”, that compose the endometrium (the tissue that is under the uterus, and it renews itself after menstruation) are located outside the uterus, for example at the Fallopian tubes, ovaries or any other place of the abdominal cavity. Outside their habitat they behave like their “sisters” inside the uterus, and evolve (proliferating and oozing) depending on their feminine hormonal cycles. It is possible that the woman does not know that she has endometriosis, and she only perceives some pain during deep penetration.
Other types of dyspareunia are: Hemorrhoids; that is the dilations of the veins of the plexus in the rectum or the anus. Genital herpes, genital warts and other sexually transmitted infections can produce dyspareunia.
The patient should consult a doctor if besides the pain, there are other symptoms associated to painful sexual relations, such as bleeding, genital lesions, irregular menstrual periods, secretion through the penis or the vagina…
Causes that require Sexual Therapy
If there is no cause that explains or justifies the problem, sexual therapy is recommended. In that kind of therapy it may be necessary to look into the couple’s relationship, feelings of guilt, personal conflicts… It is advisable for those patients who have a partner, to take them with them to therapy, if that is possible.