Painful sex is VERY common!!
Current research suggests it affects roughly:
1-5% of men and
1 in 3 women
Isn't it about time this was no longer ignored!
Sadly our conditions are often ignored, denied or we are labelled as normal and thus painful sex is just a part of everyday life - this should not the case!
There are many reasons we can be experiencing pain during intercourse such as yeast infections, endometriosis, and vaginismus. Many people are often afraid to go and seek help due to anxiety, fear and or even embarrassment, therefore the actual figures of those suffering is arguably higher than current reports show.
One thing we do know is that a physical sexual problem is made worse by our own emotional and psychological response to it. Anxiety and fear can cause our symptoms to get worse as our system goes into shock and protection mode.
A recent study in 2014 made the shocking discovery that 2,400 women in the U.S live daily with chronic pain and that 91% of those felt that they were discriminated against as they were female and that the pain was purely in their heads. Whilst this is shocking it is not alone, many people who suffer with vaginismus are used to this dismissal and refusal to acknowledge their turmoil and pain. This often results in a feeling of alienation which then leads to isolation and often the failure of relationships.
Painful sex can be different from person to person and no symptons are ever the same and they can and will often change. Some people describe it as burning, others an aching sensation, and some people say it feels like hitting a brick wall. Often the pain doesn't go away after the intercourse, and bleeding can be prevalent as can pain when urinating and throbbing/burning in the vagina for some time following.
The effects this can have on an individual as well as a relationship are devastating. Self-esteem is often highly affected, panic attacks are common, sexual avoidance is almost a certainty and fights with a partner to try to avoid any possibility of intercourse in any form.
The emotional and physical toll is horrendous!
Many people fear all the ‘what ifs’ what if a kiss was going to lead to something else, so even that would be avoided. What if i brush past him, maybe that would be misconceived. It all leads to a vicious cycle of never ending emotional and physical chaos and many people choose to live solitary lives without a sexual partner and many people blame themselves.
The main thing is if you notice any difference at all in your sexual desire, appetite or start to experience pain is to get it investigated. There may be a hormonal imbalance, or there may be a physical underlying health issue. Once all physical diagnosis are either treated, maintained or ruled out then seeking a great sex therapist is essentiual to work through or the emotional and psycholigical affects this would have had on you.
If there is one thing I would like you to take away from this and it is:
You’re not alone - it is VERY common, seek help, no-one has to live a sex life of pain or a life void of sex.
All the best,