Washington - Your brain may be ready for sex. But what if your body refuses to cooperate? Women desiring intimacy with their partner sometimes experience pain instead of pleasure. Painful intercourse can happen even without other health issues - and it's more common than you might think.
In a 2013 survey, one in five women reported vulvar pain or discomfort during sex in the previous 30 days, and about 30 percent of women in a similar 2012 survey reported pain during their most recent sexual contact. Sometimes the pain is brief. But in others, it's persistent.
Painful sex, known medically as dyspareunia, can have a variety of causes. Most affect women of all ages, although some women experience its onset during or after menopause. A variety of conditions, including endometriosis and a thinning of the vaginal wall, can be to blame - and sometimes, the pain has no discernible cause.
The pain can range from the discomfort of vaginal dryness to painful pelvic contractions or burning vulvar pain during penetration. Physical causes range. A lack of arousal or low estrogen can cause vaginal dryness and soreness.
Infections or inflammation can lead to painful contractions of the pelvic muscles or burning pain during penetration. Birth control pills have also been linked with vulvar pain and uncomfortable intercourse.