Is it Sexual Pain Disorder?

With sex being an essential aspect of any intimate relationship, it’s difficult when one or both partners experiences pain during sexual intercourse on a regular basis. Sexual pain disorders can affect both men and women, though women make up the majority of cases.

According to the University of Hawaii, as much as 15 percent of women living in the United States struggle with sexual pain disorder. As these types of conditions are chronic in nature, someone affected by a pain disorder will have experienced symptoms on a frequent basis over the course of months.

Symptoms experienced can vary depending on the type of pain disorder involved. Causes for sexual pain disorders can also vary depending on a person’s overall health status.

Sexual Pain Disorders

Sexual pain disorders can originate from physical and/or psychological causes depending on any one person’s circumstances. While pain symptoms most characterize these conditions, the root of the problem may or may not be of physical origin.

Like most every type of sexual dysfunction, sexual pain disorder can affect a person’s overall –

  • Capacity for sexual arousal
  • Sexual desire
  • Ability to reach orgasm

According to the American Family Physician, issues surrounding sexuality involve a complex mix of beliefs and influences, some of which include –

  • Religious beliefs
  • Family
  • Aging
  • Past experiences with sex
  • Health status

When life changes conflict with one or more of the above areas, sexual dysfunctions can develop.

Types of Pain

sexual disorders

If you experience pain during intercourse you may have a disorder of sexual pain.

The types of pain associated with sexual pain disorders can take any number of forms depending on the actual cause of the condition, according to the Boston University School of Medicine. Pain symptoms may develop before, during or after sex and may originate from various locations. The intensity of pain symptoms can also vary.

Types of pain may include –

  • Burning sensations
  • Sharp pains
  • Pain sensations coming from different locations
  • Dull pain

Over time, a person may start to view pain symptoms as meaning he or she is sexually inadequate, which only works to reinforce the problem.

Pain Syndromes

According to the University of Texas, sexual pain disorders are classified as psychiatric conditions even though pain symptoms remain the distinguishing feature. In general, the types of symptoms a person experiences falls under one of two pain syndromes, with syndromes being a set or group of symptoms that tend to occur together. The two pain syndromes include –

  • Vaginismus
  • Dyspareunia

Vaginismus involves pain sensations that originate inside the vagina or within the pelvic region in general. Involuntary muscle contractions inside the vagina account for the occurrence of vaginismus-type pain symptoms.

Dyspareunia exists as the most common type of sexual pain disorder. Symptoms take the form of ongoing pain during intercourse that’s localized within the genital region.


In 75 percent of cases, pain disorder sufferers develop a medical condition that further aggravates existing pain symptoms. Medical conditions commonly associated with sexual pain disorders include –

  • Cystitis
  • Vaginal infection
  • Severe constipation problems
  • Thinning of vaginal wall tissues

Considering how sexual dysfunctions can leave sufferers feeling inadequate and personally responsible for a relationship’s failings, the sooner a person gets needed treatment help the better.


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