Coitalgia, when sexual intercourse hurts

Anthony Golden
Coitalgia, when sexual intercourse hurts

Normally, we associate sex with feelings of pleasure and joy, but pain during sexual intercourse is more common than most people think and can become a serious problem in relationships and in the sexual and personal life of the person. subject, since they can cause anxiety situations affecting the quality of intimate relationships.

Coitalgia or dyspareunia is called painful intercourse in both men and women. It can vary widely in degree, from mild discomfort to profound pain, and can occur just before, during, or after intercourse..


  • Physical causes
    • Men
    • Women
  • Psychological causes
    • Conclution

Physical causes


In men it is usually much less frequent than in women, although men who suffer from it can see their sexual life greatly diminished. In the case of men, it can occur at the time of erection, penetration or ejaculation, being more common at the time of ejaculation. The pain is mainly located in the penis, although the testicles or prostate can be affected.

The causes that can cause discomfort and pain in the case of men can be:

  • Phimosis or shrinkage of the foreskin
  • Allergic reactions to latex
  • Anatomical abnormalities of the penis such as Peyronie's disease
  • Urinary infection
  • Tears in the frenulum
  • Contact with the IUD or spermicides during penetration

Although in the case of men, physical and organic causes tend to take precedence, it can also be due to psychological reasons; anxiety, inappropriate education, or previous traumatic experiences.


It is much more common for women to suffer discomfort or pain during intercourse since there are many more causes that can cause this discomfort. There may be both physical and psychological or a combination of both.

Physical causes:

  • Skin problems, dermatitis, allergic reactions, product of the use of scented soaps and some lubricants.
  • Endometriosis, which is an abnormal growth of cells in the lining of the uterus (womb) that can cause pain, heavy bleeding, and problems getting pregnant.
  • Injury during intercourse, sometimes minor trauma can occur due to distention of the vaginal fundus. If the pain remains, it is advisable to consult with the gynecologist as soon as possible.
  • Vaginal dryness, this can occur at any age, but it is more frequent in menopause and the period that precedes it, produced by the decrease in estrogens, which can cause irritation and burning during intercourse. In this case it is best to opt for the use of lubricants.
  • Vaginitis, is an inflammation produced by a fungal or bacterial infection, the woman will have discomfort during intercourse, but it will also generate vaginal discharge and burning.
  • Episiotomy. It is the cut made during childbirth and can also cause pain during intercourse. If it lasts over the months, the use of physical therapies and, in extreme cases, surgery
  • Allergy to latex. A small group of women have allergic reactions to the materials that condoms are made from. In this case, it is better to use hypoallergenic condoms or other contraceptive methods..
  • Certain medications Some women who take birth control pills may feel a decrease in their libido, it can also occur with an abuse of analgesics or antibiotics, since these can alter the natural lubrication.

Psychological causes

  • Emotional problems. Feelings of fear, guilt, shame, or stress prevent the relaxation necessary to achieve arousal from being achieved. This will decrease sexual desire and can make penetration painful.
  • Difficulties at the level of the couple. Difficulties in the relationship can lead to feelings that cause discomfort in the sexual act.

Although, above all, female coitalgia is mainly associated with vaginismus. During the arousal phase, the woman experiences a relaxation of the vaginal muscles, but in vaginismus this muscles contract in such a way that it prevents penetration. This is due to the fact that women with vaginismus are tense when faced with sexual intercourse, although there is a desire to maintain intercourse, the body's response is very different and this causes great discomfort to women.

Vaginismus is caused by a combination of physical and / or psychological factors that can range from anxiety or stress to age-related changes, childbirth, medical problems. These problems make it impossible to achieve vaginal penetration due to the contraction of the muscles that surround the vagina. It can also be produced by wrong sexual education, irrational ideas about penetration or the fear of getting pregnant, or even distorted ideas about their own genitalia..


Talking about pain in relationships for most of the people is a subject that causes a lot of shame, that is why a good educational work is very important since body awareness and social censorship make it difficult to speak openly about these issues . This means that many people who suffer discomfort in sexual relations do not communicate it for fear of being misunderstood and that they are classified as rare but it is essential to be able to speak it so that they try to find the most satisfactory solution for each individual.

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