I was featured in the Independent as a resource for pain during sex in a recent article at the website of the Irish Independent newspaper. There is a link to the full article shown below.
Author: Mary O'Conor
I am 24 years of age and ever since I became sexually active, I have experienced a lot of pain. I don't have any medical issues down below. I'm on a contraceptive that is an injection every three months. I dread sex every time, which I know isn't healthy, but the pain is unbearable. I love my boyfriend and would love for this to reduce, if not stop altogether.
Please can you provide some advice on this as it has begun to take a toll on our relationship.
Mary replies: Dyspareunia, which is what painful intercourse is called, is naturally very upsetting. Vaginismus, a condition whereby the woman is unable to allow penetration at all and unable to allow even a medical examination of the vaginal area, is almost always psychological in origin, but dyspareunia often has a physical component. In your case, however, you tell me that there are no medical issues, so I assume that you have discussed all this with your doctor who hasn't found any physical reason for your pain.
I have to stress here that you should have had a complete medical examination of your pelvic floor area, rather than just speaking about it with the doctor. Any physical abnormalities, such as an extra thick hymen or a divided vaginal septum, can only be discovered through a physical examination. These things are quite rare but have to be ruled out.
It could be that when you first started having sex you were a bit anxious or tense, and so not fully lubricated. If that was the case then it would more than likely have hurt you, and then when you tried again you would have been tense again, as your body will have remembered the pain. I have seen something as simple as that cause dyspareunia, which was ongoing for a number of years.
Finally, an American physiotherapist, Heather Jeffcoat, wrote to me some time ago about this topic and she is the author of Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide To The Sex Life You Deserve. I have not had a chance to read it myself but she is very well regarded in her field. Her website is: FusionWellnessPT.com