We need to be talking openly about dyspareunia.
Dyspareunia is an umbrella term for pain with intercourse. Although, statistics are difficult to gather about this syndrome (or series of syndromes, including vaginismus, vestibulitis, and atrophy), by some estimates, it affects at least 60 percent of women!
Painful intercourse may manifest in the following ways, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Pain only at sexual penetration (entry)
- Pain with every penetration, even while putting in a tampon
- New pain after previously pain-free intercourse
- Deep pain during thrusting
- Burning pain or aching pain
- Throbbing pain, lasting hours after intercourse
If you experience any of these, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
In some cases, however, doctors—even gynecologists!—can be nervous talking about sex with you. And, of course, you might be even more nervous. Here are three things you can do in this situation:
- Take a deep breath and say what is going on.
- Demand an investigation and diagnosis.
- Ask for referrals that might be helpful. Some pelvic pain can be treated with physical therapy, for instance. There are also gynecologists who specialize in pelvic pain.
I believe we need to start talking about our discomfort. Only then, can be fully claim pleasure as our right.