What is Dyspareunia?

Pain during sex is a common issue experienced by many women today. Women experiencing this pain frequently face negative impacts on their quality of life and relationships. It’s important not to let fear or embarrassment keep you from seeking medical treatment, or the information you need about the root causes of painful intercourse.


The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is defined as a recurrent or persistent pain in the genital area that occurs before, during, or after intercourse. Reasons for painful sex range from anatomical or physiological problems, to complex psychological and emotional difficulties.



If you are suffering from dyspareunia you may be experiencing:


  • Pain only at sexual entry (penetration)
  • Pain with every penetration, including putting in a tampon
  • Deep pain during thrusting
  • Burning pain or aching pain
  • Throbbing pain that lasts hours after intercourse
  • Pain During Entry Penetration

If you are experiencing pain during penetration, some common causes might be:


  • Lubrication– Pain during sex can be caused by an absence of lubrication, frequently brought on by Menopause, childbirth, or even breastfeeding.
  • Medications– Medications such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines, and even birth control pills are often the culprit for pain during sex.
  • Injury, Trauma or Irritation- Injury or irritation from an accident, pelvic surgery, or episiotomy during childbirth can often cause pain during sex.
  • Inflammation, Infection or Skin Disorder. Infections in your genital area or urinary tract, as well as other skin irritations—such as the fissures that result from yeast infections—are potential causes of painful sex.
  • Vaginismus– These involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall can make penetration painful.
  • Congenital abnormality– The absence of a fully formed vagina, known as vaginal agenesis, or development of an imperforate hymen, are examples of congenital conditions that could also be the cause of pain during sex.

Pain During Deeper Penetration

The pain experienced during deeper penetration is sometimes described by patients as deep pain. Common causes of deep pain include:

  • Certain Illnesses and Conditions– Gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse, or even uterine fibroids cysts can be the cause of pain during sex.
  • Surgeries or Medical Treatments– Scarring from pelvic surgeries or even medical treatments can cause physiological changes that result in pain during sex.

Emotional or Psychological Factors

It’s often very difficult to determine if emotional or psychological factors are at the root of pain during sex. Some common emotional factors include:

  • Psychological issues
  • Stress
  • History of sexual abuse

Help for Dyspareunia

The doctors at the Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville are here to help you discover the potential causes of your dyspareunia and available treatment. Our staff and physicians provide the highest level of women’s medical care in a welcoming and warm, patient-centered environment. If you are experiencing painful intercourse, contact us today.