Sex is an activity that should involve pleasure since the act enhances the production of the feel-good hormones that make a person happy and excited. But some people have an awful experience when it comes to making love because the act is painful. There are many ways you can make love and feel the pleasure of being aroused. Some people masturbate while others make love with more than one partner (threesome). According to Leonard (2010), masturbation is harmless and convenient for everybody. The pleasure from sex should not come with any pain. You cannot have a steamy moment when you have pain. Have you been having painful sex, and you don’t know what to do? This article highlights issues related to painful sex and what to do. Painful Sex Painful sex or intercourse can be experienced through pain in the vulva, pelvic region, vagina, or the labia. It operates as a deep sharp pain or burning sensation during or after having sex. Several things can cause pain. If there is an increase in pain during intercourse, you should consider going for a check-up with a therapist. Causes of Painful Sex Thinning of the Vaginal Walls and Dryness Painful sex is the pain experienced when there is penetration. According to Hummelen et al. (2011), vaginal dryness is more common in women during their postmenopause period. During menopause, women should take hormone replacement and blood flow pills, thickening pills, and use lubricants whenever they are making love. Lubrication is very important as explained by Angel (2022). Furthermore, Wilson et al. (2017) state that lubricants are used during procreative intercourse to moderate the amount of wetness in the genitals. Change in the Sexual Behaviour When you change your sexual behavior, it can make the experience differ. When you stay long without making love, then get back to it, some changes may be accompanied, for example, having painful intercourse. Increase in the Frequency of Sexually Transmitted Diseases When you have an infection, especially sexually transmitted diseases, you will experience painful sex. If the infection keeps resurfacing, this will affect your genitals, making you have sexual pain when making love. Infections in the Genitals Several infections, such as bacterial infections and yeast, affect the genitals. The infections might lead to urethritis and urethral syndrome. They make a woman frequently urinate, which can also be difficult. The inflammation of the urethra causes this type of infection. Low estrogen levels can also cause it. Additionally, vaginismus is another cause of painful sex as Pacik (2009) described. The pain associated with vaginismus can be involuntary. It can appear and cause by several things, including painful insertion or penetration, previous sexual abuse, or unresolved sexual problem. Vaginal Structure There are situations where the vagina has an abnormal structure (abnormal narrowing). When you have this condition, you might experience pain during penetration and after sex. If you have felt a pain that shows no sign of seizing, you would rather visit the doctor for further check-ups. Vulvodynia Vulvodynia is a condition that affects a woman’s genitals and is characterized by chronic pain around the vulva. Its cause is unknown, and women who have this condition can experience painful intercourse. Endometriosis Endometriosis is a condition where the tissues grow in the uterus line or other places such as the fallopian tube, ovaries, or intestines. This can cause pain during sex. Fibroids These are growths on the uterus, thus causing heavy flow pelvic pressure and painful sex. The growth is non-cancerous. Symptoms of Painful Sex The signs of painful sex are evident during penetration or immediately after sex. Mainly, the common symptoms are related to pain. A common symptom is a pain during penetration which can be described as sharp or burning. Other symptoms include pelvic cramps, muscle tightness, or muscle spasms. The pain experienced during intercourse can be described as primary or secondary, situational or complete pain, or superficial entrance or deep thrust types. The painful primary sex is the pain that appears at the start of intercourse, and it is mainly caused by an underlying condition that is inborn. In contrast, the painful secondary sex a person acquires during their sexual life. Complete pain is where one experiences pain during the entire sex session, while situational sex pain occurs with a particular type of stimulation or partner. Superficial entrance happens during penetration alone, whereas the deep thrusts happen in the abdominal area and the cervix, and it happens during and after sex. Treatment The treatment of the painful sex will depend on the cause of the pain. For example, when the cause is an infection, you will be given a prescription for the condition, and when the cause is settled, you will have a normal sex life just like before. Those with issues like the abnormal narrowing of the vagina would undergo surgery or radiation, which will help solve the condition. Some conditions can be dealt with by having a recommendation from a therapist for behavioural therapy and vaginal relaxation. Painful intercourse is not an emergency. Depending on the cause, you should consider it an emergency when you have the following symptoms; New on-set or severe pain is more than previous experiences and lasts more than a few minutes.Bleeding following the new-onset pain or the severe pain.A new discharge.Rectal pain, vomiting, nausea following intercourse. Conclusion Many women are reluctant to talk about their sexual lives, and what touches their genitalia is taboo. They feel embarrassed. Most women do not open up to their friends and family about the issues, thus resulting in the mystery of their suffering. If you are avoiding sex for this same reason, then it is time for you to open up and see a doctor so you can get help. Painful sex has a cause, and it is treatable when identified. Do not suffer in silence; get help as early as possible to avoid increasing the problem. The cause of painful sex can also be psychological, and that is why among the primary health care you will visit when you go to seek help is the psychiatrist. References Angel, K. (2022). Tomorrow sex will be good again: Women and desire in the age of consent. Verso Books. Hummelen, R., Macklaim, J. M., Bisanz, J. E., Hammond, J. A., McMillan, A., Vongsa, R., … & Reid, G. (2011). Vaginal microbiome and epithelial gene array in post-menopausal women with moderate to severe dryness. PloS one, 6(11), e26602. Leonard, A. (2010). An Investigation Of Masturbation And Coping Style. In 38th Annual Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Psychology Conference. Pacik, P. T. (2009). Botox treatment for vaginismus. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 124(6), 455e-456e.Wilson, S. L., Adam, J. K., & Krishna, S. B. N. (2017). Effects of vaginal lubricants on in-vitro progressive spermatozoa motility. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 21(3), 96-101.