Sexual Health and Wellness



  • Dyspareunia refers to persistent or recurrent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse. At times this may occur before or after intercourse.
  • The pain may be described as superficial during intromission or as deep during vaginal penetration. The intensity may range from mild discomfort to sharp pain.
  • Dyspareunia is diagnosed in the absence of genital abnormalities or other physical causes.
  • Dyspareunia may be accompanied by interpersonal difficulty (e.g., relational dissatisfaction) and reports of avoiding sexual activity and limiting the development of new sexual relationships.
  • Dyspareunia can be primary, in which the person has always experienced pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Dyspareunia can be secondary, in which the person used to be pain free, but now isn’t.
  • Dyspareunia can be focused, in that the pain relates to a specific aspect of sexual experience (e.g., vaginal penetration).
  • Dyspareunia may be general, in that the person experiences pain irrespective of the sexual stimuli.

Epidemiology Based on available information, dyspareunia tends to be chronic. Causes Many things can cause dyspareunia; it can be a psychological problem, or a combination of a physical and psychological problem. Treatment Every woman will have a unique set of circumstances causing her genital pain, and likewise the treatment plan should be individually tailored to meet her special needs. A detailed medical, sexual and social history should be obtained and certain blood tests carried out. This may uncover any underlying medical or psychological condition. Based on the information uncovered the treatment plan will target at the factors that may be lowering sexual interest. When an underlying medical condition is found, this will be treated first.