Different Types of Sexual Pain | Counseling | Therapy

Different Types of Sexual Pain

Jennifer , MS, LPC, PHD — Clinical director

Many conditions cause female sexual pain, otherwise known as dyspareunia. Some of the conditions that cause female sexual pain include: vulvodynia, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infections, vaginal infections, fibroids, ovarian cysts, cervical problems, or lack of vaginal lubrication.

  • Vulvodynia – Vulvodynia is medical condition involving unexplained pain in the vulva. Pain is described as burning, itching, cutting or stabbing. Pain can be in any area of the vulva. A specific type of vulvodynia is known as vulvar vestibulitis syndrome where the pain is felt in the area of the vaginal opening. Vulvodynia symptoms can be reduced with a variety of medical treatments. Endometriosis – Endometriosis is a medical condition that involves endometrial cells being present outside of the uterus. These endometrial cells respond to hormones during the menstrual cycle and bleed like the endometrial cells in the lining of the uterus. This bleeding of the cells outside of the uterus often results in pelvic pain which can cause pain during intercourse.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) refers to an inflammation of the reproductive organs including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus. PID is often caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections including Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. This inflammation can cause painful intercourse.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections – Sexually Transmitted Infections such as herpes and genital warts can cause painful intercourse. If you are sexually active with more than one partner or are not in a committed relationship, it is wise to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections even if you practice safe sex.
  • Vaginal Infections – Vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis can also cause pain with intercourse. Fibroids – Fibroids are muscular masses that grow in the uterine wall. Sometimes fibroids can cause painful sex.
  • Ovarian Cysts – Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled masses that can develop on the ovary. Sometimes cysts can cause pain during sex.
  • Cervical problems – any type of problem or infection on the cervix could cause painful sex.
  • Lack of Vaginal Lubrication - Some woman do not produce enough lubrication from the vagina which can cause uncomfortable friction during sexual intercourse. Women who are in menopause or beginning menopause may notice a decrease in their vaginal lubrication. There are many sexual lubricants on the market today including KY Jelly, and Astroglide. Often it is just involves trying different lubricants and finding the right one for you and your partner.


Experiencing female sexual pain can often create problems in a woman’s sex life as well as emotional issues, especially if the problem is chronic and/or not easily treated. Help is available.

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