Love Can Hurt … and for Many Women, So Can Sex.

Anyone who’s had a broken heart knows that love can hurt. But many women complain that sex can, as well. Many other women don’t say a thing even if it does hurt, because they don’t know what to say, may be embarrassed or don’t know whom to tell.

In an article in Sunday’s New York Times, Dr. Jen Gunter, an ob/gyn, writes that women often jump to the conclusion that if sex hurts, it must be their fault. Instead, it might be a medical condition known as dyspareunia, a fancy word describing pain during sex due to medical or psychological causes.

Although you may feel you’re the only person in the world for whom sex is painful, Dr. Gunter says that almost 75 percent of women have experienced it. Many have the pain come and go, but up to 45 percent of menopausal women and 60 percent of cancer survivors report pain.

It can be caused by muscle spasms, nerve pain, skin conditions, low estrogen or endometriosis. It can be triggered by a woman’s fear of pain—if sex is painful and you’re going to have sex, Dr. Gunter says, your body tenses up in anticipation and, you guessed it, sex is painful.

So what to do? One of the first steps, Dr. Gunter says, should be finding a good doctor. Too often, women tell a doctor about their pain but never get a diagnosis or treatment. “In addition to a doctor and physical therapist,” Dr. Gunter says, “a sex therapist and psychologist may be helpful.” It may take a few appointments, but finding the right doctor who will give you a proper diagnosis is a big step in solving the issue.

Our Consultants often have the chance to listen to women who complain about pain during sex. Guiding them to a health care professional who can help them live pain-free can help them feel better about themselves, their partner and about sex. And who doesn’t want to feel better about sex?

Want to read more of Dr. Gunter’s article? Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/style/sex-pain-causes-solutions.html.

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