Hurt when we make love : this delicate subject remains taboo and poorly documented. Do these pains during sexual intercourse affect many women? Hard to say. According to a 2017 British study (source 1), one in ten women complained about it. In a survey on sexual behavior in France, which is somewhat dated, 24% of the women questioned complained of occasional or regular dyspareunia (source 2). So what are the causes of dyspareunia ? How can psychological factors as well as marital or relationship conflicts impact these pains? Expert responses.
What is dyspareunia?
“There is dyspareunia when penetration is painfule ”, explains June Pla in her book Club enjoyment. The dyspareunia may be superficial (pain when entering the vagina) or deep (pain deep in the vagina). She may be primary (always existed) or secondary (occurred after a pain-free period). Be that as it may, “dyspareunia is a fairly frequent reason for consultation in sexology or gynecology”, explains Léa, a gynecologist.
Multiple physical causes
As we explained in this article on pain during sex, and as also stressed by all the specialists, the potential causes of these pains are very numerous: “A method of unsuitable contraception, a retroverted uterus, a very short vagina depth, a endometriosis, (especially in case of severe pain during menstruation as well), yeast infection, a herpes, an overweight male, vaginal dryness, an episiotomy scar, in short, everything that hurts there, ”summarizes June Pla.
But, as noted by Dr Sylvain Mimoun, gynecologist, psychological factors should not be forgotten (source 3):
“Although these organic causes must always be sought with care, we must not forget that, when the pain is there in a chronic and repetitive manner, the part of psychic factors (possibly associated with organic causes) is always present and sometimes even preponderant. ”
Penetration pain: four major psychological causes
“Whatever the cause, there is a large part of the psychic in the phenomena of pain, which must be taken into account”, also underlines June Pla. Sylvain Mimoun lists these psychological causes in four cases:
- psychosexual problems: trauma, aggression, fear of coitus rigid education with regard to sexuality, disgust, loss of desire for his partner;
- marital and / or relationship conflictss: a partner who does not listen well;
- depressive syndromes (masked);
- neurotic states.
The incredible influence of the relationship with the partner
“Insofar as there is a large psychological part and where, in most cases, we do not find no anatomical causes such as vaginal dryness or endometriosis, the partner can have a strong influence on these pains, ”continues the gynecologist.
The woman’s relationship with her partner is therefore essential. Her dispositions or not, to make her happy, to respect her choices, both in matters of sexuality and elsewhere, not to force her hand… All of this influences her moods, which then dominate her body. Someone who doesn’t behave, who denigrates, runs away, lies, etc., causes rejection of the body. Sometimes, even when the mind doesn’t see the problem, the body shows it!
A testimony of secondary dyspareunia
Thus, Jeanne, 38 years old, who had never had pain during penetration, began to have it after a certain time of rchaotic elation with his mate at the time: “My ex was sick, depressed or alcoholic, I never knew, but he lied to me several times anyway. In addition, and probably for these same reasons, we had very little sex. The few times we had them they weren’t very satisfying to me, I was always a little frustrated… After a while, as soon as the option potentially presented itself, I felt unexpected cramps and pain at the entrance to the vagina. As the penetration was then painful, I was better content not to make love. Looking back, I tell myself that it’s a bit as if my body wanted to help me endure the absence of sex and / or no longer want my companion… We are now separated and I don’t know if this ‘is related or not, but today, I no longer have these pains. ”
What solutions and aids in case of dyspareunia?
In each case its solution, reassures June Pla. Among the potential remedies for these pains, the latter suggests:
- A consultation : “You can go to the site www.lesclesdevenus.org which references competent professionals in the field of vaginismus and dyspareunia. “
- A change in contraception : “Sometimes, simply removing an IUD or changing the pill can make this pain disappear. “
- The use of alternative medicine : osteo, physiotherapist, hypnotherapist, acupuncturist, etc. Whatever works for you!
- Improve communication with the partner : “It is essential to communicate with your partner or a psychologist to detect where the problem comes from, but also for the partner to adjust his actions and be vigilant to your reaction. “
- Change partner : “Many testimonies converge on the hypothesis according to which finding another more attentive lover had made it possible to change everything. “
In short, while dyspareunia can have several causes, the mind often plays an important role in these pains. Thus, the latter would sometimes be the unconscious response of the body to a lack of listening and / or consideration of the partner. Anyway, as June Pla points out, remember: “It is essential to listen to yourself and never to force yourself, this could make the problem worse”.
Yours truly and your sexual well-being.
– (1) “Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey ”, BJOG, January 2017.
– (2) “Sexual behavior in France “, Social Sciences and Health, 1993.
– (3) “Extract from updates in medical gynecology “, 2005.