Dyspareunie : on explique les douleurs lors des rapports sexuels

Dyspareunia: we explain the pain during sexual intercourse

Dyspareunia: definition

Dyspareunia is pain felt in women or men during sexual intercourse.

However, dyspareunia is a medical term that is more commonly used to refer to pain during sexual intercourse in women. Dyspareunia affects 20% of women in France.

A figure surely lower since many women do not mention their pain felt during vaginal or even anal penetration. Although it is the most common case, the pain does not only appear during vaginal penetration but also before or after.

And most often during these pains, the muscles of the pelvic floor contract abnormally ( due to secondary vaginismus for example). In all cases, a consultation with a specialist is necessary to determine the origin of these pains:

Rare physical causes:

  • Birth defects of the vulva, hymen or vagina;
  • The side effects of certain treatments (brachytherapy or radiotherapy);
  • Infections: vulvovaginitis caused by fungal infections, inflammations, STIs, etc.
  • Diseases affecting the mucous membranes: lichen, for example;

All physiological causes: psychological and/or physical trauma (related to childhood, adolescence or adulthood), poor body image, severe sex education, depression, anxiety, sometimes phobias unaware of sexual intercourse, etc.

The different types of pain

There are two main forms of dyspareunia, superficial dyspareunia and deep dyspareunia .

Dyspareunia is said to be superficial when pain is present from the start of penetration. The pain appears at the vulvar level…

Dyspareunia is said to be deep when the pain is felt at the bottom of the vagina or even in the lower vent.

In addition, there are also 2 types of dyspareunia :

  • We speak of primary dyspareunia when the pain has always been present, from the first sexual intercourse.
  • When the pains appear at a later time in the life of the woman who has already had sexual intercourse several times before, we will then speak of secondary dyspareunia.

It is important to talk about it!

Sex is above all a moment of pleasure. It is therefore important that these reports go perfectly!

If any pain appears, the first person to report it to is his partner so that he can adapt / change his behavior. Communication remains essential during sexual intercourse, it is the best tool so that there is no confusion.

If the pain persists, it is better to take a short break to make an appointment with a sexual health professional. There is no shame or embarrassment in having to consult because it is in no way your fault.

Other ways to nurture sex life with your partner

However, it is quite possible to have sex without penetration and have maximum pleasure! 😊

Some couples then develop a sexuality without penetration but lead a sex life filled with pleasure through foreplay , oral sex , massages, caresses ... and therefore feel no need to consult.

Using a vibrator may also be an option! 🔥

"If it is impossible to insert a sex toy into the vagina, you can use clitoris massagers" , logically announces Valérie Tasso.

Being patient with your body, following your desires, talking about it with a professional and lubricating your genitals or anus well when trying to use sex toys is the secret to a fulfilling sex life , even for women. people with vaginismus or dyspareunia!

If a couple consults while fulfillment is present despite vaginismus, it is commonly to have a baby. Although it remains rare, it is possible that the woman becomes pregnant without penetration and this by the so-called "syringe" method. However, if you wish to consult, do not hesitate to do so with your partner!

What are the causes of dyspareunia?

In case of pain during intercourse, it is essential to identify the cause.

It is therefore important to consult your doctor or a gynecologist to subsequently lead a "normal" sexuality filled with pleasure. Many causes can be at the origin of this.

First of all the psychological causes. Dyspareunia can occur following a traumatic event related to the reproductive system. This sudden disorder can be the cause of sexual violence, a disastrous medical appointment, a fall, a strict education, a lack of information… This results in vaginismus, therefore an unconscious contraction of the muscles of the perineum .

Another reason for dyspareunia can be a medical cause such as endometriosis , pelvic inflammatory disease , an ovarian cyst , or even a fibroid .

There are also psychological causes .

The pains appear due to stress or apprehension.

Women with pain of penetration may experience intense fear of pain and anxiety before or during penetration of the vagina, when women anticipate a recurrence of pain during penetration, their vaginal muscles contract, which makes it even more more painful attempts at sexual intercourse. However, most affected women can enjoy non-penetrative sexual activity. For these reasons, the easiest way is often to communicate with your partner.

A proof that communication is the key to a successful sexual relationship! 😊

Infections can also cause pain during sexual intercourse. It can be vaginal mycoses, STIs or many others...

In addition to these causes, there are also less common ones such as malformations in the female genitalia.

Depending on the origin of the cause, the pain can be more or less deep as seen above. For example, if the pain results from endometriosis, it will be a deep pain so the pain will be felt at the bottom of the vagina or even in the lower part of the vagina. However, if it is a psychological cause, the pain will be superficial.

What are the symptoms of dyspareunia?

Although it was previously said that the symptoms of dyspareunia are pain felt from the first contact during vaginal penetration, deep in the vagina or even in the lower abdomen and even before or after penetration, but what are the types of pain?

The pain may correspond to burning sensations , itching , tingling ... however other symptoms may occur.

Indeed, other symptoms exist such as vaginal spasms (vaginismus), a decrease in libido , a drying of the vaginal wall or even a loss of confidence in women which can lead to depression. 😕

Treating dyspareunia is possible!

There are different treatments depending on the origin of the dyspareunia. During the pain felt during vaginal penetration, it is important to listen to your body to better understand the symptoms in order to discuss them with your doctor or a gynecologist. They will then be able to give you the most suitable treatment for your situation.

However, we can distinguish the treatments in two different forms depending on the origin of the pain during sexual intercourse. If it is a psychological pain it is commonly advised to consult a sexologist , a physiotherapist or even a psychologist to help you better understand the origin of these pains.

Moreover, if it is a physical dyspareunia, it is strongly advised to use an intimate gel if the pain results in vaginal burning. You can also spend more time on foreplay ...perhaps your body isn't feeling enough pleasure yet.

If this is the case, do not hesitate to use the treatment of communication with your partner, a free and very effective treatment 😊.

How to avoid/prevent dyspareunia? 

  • consult a doctor in the event of recurrent pain during sexual intercourse in order to detect the cause;
  • use topical lubricants in case of vaginal dryness and especially during sexual intercourse. Hormonal treatments or the use of the vaginal laser can be recommended in the event of vaginal dryness linked to the menopause;
  • wear cotton underwear;
  • prefer menstrual panties (preferably cotton) to sanitary napkins and tampons;
  • use a suitable soap that respects the genital flora. Avoid deodorants and intimate freshness sprays;
  • avoid wearing panty liners too often
  • above all, do not do vaginal douching;
  • consult a sex therapist or a couple therapist in case of relationship difficulties with your partner;
  • addressing psychological issues that contribute to and result from chronic pain;
  • extending the time for foreplay can optimize desire and vaginal lubrication ;
  • quickly treat vaginal or urinary inflammations/infections; 
  • avoid sexual intercourse in case of lesions of the genital sphere. Treat these;
  • consult a psychologist or psychiatrist in the event of post-traumatic psychogenic dyspareunia (history of sexual abuse, intense pain during childbirth, etc.) or vaginismus;
  • avoid the use of latex (or other allergens) in case of allergy;
  • treat chronic stress (yoga, relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, sophrology...);
  • maintain a healthy lifestyle (balanced diet, regular physical activity, etc.).

In case of profound dyspareuria, penetration can be avoided and replaced by other practices.

Know this : you can have just as much pleasure during sex, or even more, without penetration. Especially since the female orgasm is not produced by the vagina but by the clitoris.



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