Painful Sex (Dyspareunia)

Do you have pain during sex? Are you unable to have pleasurable sex? Is it difficult to have penetration sex?

Do you feel pain during sex? Is it difficult to have pleasurable penetrative sex? Are you unable to have sex at all due to the pain?

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If you answered yes to 1 or more of these questions, fear not! In this article, we will help you understand why you are experiencing painful sex and learn about the methods to treat it.

Meet Dyspareunia

The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-nee-uh). It is defined as pain with intercourse that may occur just before, during or after intercourse.

The most common condition among women would be vaginismus. It refers to a condition in which women experience difficulty having intercourse and feel significant pain upon the act or even the thought of vaginal penetration.

Painful sex can be a huge source of stress, frustration and low self-esteem where women blame ourselves for being inadequate.

Painful intercourse can happen for many reasons:

  • Infections :
    • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs),
    • Inflammation, or
    • Skin disorders
  • Physical problems :
    • congenital abnormality (abnormality from birth) –
      • an absence of the fully formed vagina (vagina agenesis), or
      • development of a membrane that blocks the vaginal opening (imperforate hymen)
    • injury or trauma at the pelvic area –
      • could be due to pelvic surgery,
      • female circumcision,
      • cut during childbirth (episiotomy), or
      • hysterectomy
  • Illness such as:
    • endometriosis,
    • pelvic inflammatory disease,
    • uterine prolapse,
    • retroverted uterus,
    • uterine fibroids,
    • cystitis,
    • irritable bowel syndrome,
    • hemorrhoids, and/or
    • ovarian cysts
  • Psychological / Emotional factors such as:
    • psychological issues (anxiety, fear of intimacy or fear of pain),
    • stress, or
    • history of sexual abuse

Is it normal?

Many women experience painful intercourse at some point in their lives. It is normal and it is something that can be treated to ease the pain. Do not force yourself to endure the pain because sex is supposed to be enjoyable and not about suffering. Most importantly, never feel inadequate or blame yourself for it!

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How to treat painful intercourse?

For pain that needed medical treatment such as dryness due to menopause or pain during sex because of illness, doctors may prescribe medication or surgery depending on the issues.

For pain that has no underlying medical cause, sexual therapy and physical therapy might be helpful. Some clients just need more sexual awareness to gain a better understanding of their bodies and sex. You will know what to expect and how to deal with them in a more positive manner.

You may find it difficult or embarrassing to talk about sex but remember that medical practitioners are used to dealing with problems like this. It is better to seek help as early as possible. As you feel more pain, you might start avoiding sexual intercourse which will jeopardize your relationship too.

How Can Vibrance Help?

At Vibrance, we offer comprehensive therapy for painful sex especially vaginismus including Sexologist and Physiotherapist guidance to help you overcome this condition. Our clients have seen objective improvements and successful

If you think or know that you have pain during sex, do come for a consultation with our Sexologist and our Women’s Health Physiotherapist. We will be able to help you assess your condition and give your the appropriate recommendation.

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You are not alone in this. Your problem and condition can be helped. Do speak and consult with certified professionals to help you overcome painful sex and intercourse.


Written by:
Andrea K
Sexologist at Vibrance Pelvic Care Centre

Tel: +603-22012115 /  WhatsApp Careline Image result for whatsapp icon logo +011-59385962 (W.P. KL – Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)



Painful Intercourse (dyspareunia). Retrieved from

Painful sex in women. Retrieved from

What causes dyspareunia, or painful intercourse? Retrieved from

Why does sex hurt? Retrieved from


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