Dyspareunia (Painful Sex)

Dyspareunia (Painful Sex)

What is painful intercourse?

This disorder is persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse, or other sexual activities involving vaginal penetration. The pain can be superficial or deep internal pain.

Below is a list of some common symptoms of dyspareunia

  • 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


What causes dyspareunia?

There are physical and emotional causes of pain with intercourse. Physical causes of pain with intercourse differ, depending on whether the pain occurs at sexual penetration (entry) or with deep thrusting. Emotional factors can also be associated with many types of painful intercourse. Other forms of pain with intercourse include vaginismus and vestibulitis.

Common Causes of Superficial Vaginal Pain:

  • Inflammation or infection of the genital area or vagina
  • Inflammation or infection of the urinary tract
  • Allergic reactions to spermicides, personal lubricants or latex condoms
  • Radiation therapy to the vaginal area
  • Surgery that narrows the vagina

Common Causes of Internal Vaginal Pain:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic growths
  • Internal scar tissue due to surgery or radiation therapy


There are multiple causes of dyspareunia and it becomes difficult to lay out a “typical” treatment plan, however, dyspareunia is very treatable. At The SHOW Center we will work closely with you to determine an individual pathway to care.

*This information does not replace a provider consultation. You should schedule an appointment with your provider if you experience any of these symptoms.