Sex is supposed to be a pleasurable experience—eyes twitching in ecstasy, back-arching in enjoyment, and moaning from joy. But a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 15 percent of women suffer from pain during the act.
Though the pain can be primarily associated with lack of lubrication, other possible causes are much more serious. Among these are vaginismus, infection, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
According to Dr. Mae Kristel Ballestero, an obstetrician & gynecologist resident, vaginismus "involves involuntary spasm in the vaginal muscles, which is sometimes caused by fear of being hurt." Sexual intercourse is possible but it could be really painful for the opposite sex. In some cases, the vaginal muscles tighten up and insertion is no longer possible.
Infection like herpes and syphilis can also be a factor of the discomfort. Dr. Ballestero adds: "Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection which can be caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. This can cause inflammation of the pelvic structures and cause deep pain during intercourse."
In addition, disease in the ovaries and uterus such as ovarian cyst and myoma can make lovemaking feel unpleasant.
Another culprit is endometriosis, "a condition in which the normal lining of the uterus grows in aberrant location, the ovaries being the most common location." The pain can range from mild to intolerable.
A problem may also occur, Dr. Ballestero says, when the penis can reach the cervix at maximum penetration, especially if there is an ongoing infection.
Women who have already menopaused don't only suffer from extreme mood swings and hot flashes, but also vaginal dryness.
"Menopause can also be a reason for painful sexual intercourse due to decreased lubrication in women," Dr. Ballestero explains. This in turn can lead to vaginal dryness and pain.
She advises: "Use of lubricant may lessen the pain during intercourse."
To prevent painful sex, Dr. Ballestero advises both partners to wash before and after intercourse. And always be considerate and sensitive of your partner. She adds: "Simply ask you partner if she is comfortable."