Sex, in its simplest description, is one organ repeatedly thrusting in and out of another organ. Ouch, man. Ouch.
Most people can agree that during sex they’ve either heard or said things like, “take it slow,” or, “wait, that kind of hurts.” This pain can be caused by the sex itself, but sometimes it comes from medical conditions.
A recent study done by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported 75 percent of women will have pain during sex at some point in their lives. This pain is sometimes chronic with conditions such as vulvodynia and vaginismus.
If you’re a girl, you might be thinking, “those words sound pretty scary, what do they mean, and do I have them?”
Vulvodynia is pain in the exterior portions of female genitals such as the vulva, the labia and the clitoris. There’s much confusion over Vulvodynia because doctors are unsure what cause the pain.
WebMD says, “Until recently, doctors didn’t recognize this as a real pain syndrome. Even today, many women do not receive a diagnosis.”
Because vulvodynia is not fully understood, the only real method of pain relief is the old “ice-now-heat-later” technique.
Vulvodynia is also not the most uncommon health condition, but it is an embarrassing one that causes women to be hesitant about seeking medical help. An article from the Huffington Post, “Vulvodynia, Vaginal Pain, Is Common But Underdiagnosed: Study,” says, “Vaginal pain called vulvodynia affects as many as one in 12 women at least once in her life, but women aren’t seeking help for it.”
Vaginismus is more concrete in its diagnosis, but probably even more painful. Vaginismus occurs when the vagina tightens up so much that intercourse becomes excruciating. Sometimes the vagina tightens to the point that it closes, and sex becomes impossible all together. The pain stops when the attempt at intercourse stops.
Vaginismus.com said approximately two-in-1,000 women suffers from this condition, and it is highly treatable through a series of vaginal dilation methods and understanding why you have vaginismus in the first place.
General pain during sex can be related to other immediate problems. Some women may experience dry or itchy burning sensations during and after sex. The Organization for Women of Ethnicity recently conducted a relationship’s panel on campus. The public relations representative for OWE, Dani Filicetti, said pain such as dryness or burning during sex can come from a lack of lubrication.
“Definitely have good lubricant,” Filicetti said.
Cosmopolitan magazine ranks K-Y jelly, Sliquid and Lelo as their top three sexual lubricants.
Another element that factors into pain during sex for women is anxiety. An article in Psychology Today, “When Sex Hurts: Tips and Tricks to Overcome Discomfort,” said, “If things are not going well it can contribute to anxiety and fear with sex causing the muscles of the vagina to clamp down making sex uncomfortable or downright painful.”
OWE’s event coordinator, Desiree Vazquez, said a connection needs to be made before sex can be enjoyable.
“Wait until you feel right even if it takes days, weeks months,” Vazquez said.
A statistic such as 75 percent of women will suffer pain at least once during their lives can be a little shocking, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up sex all together. The key is to understand your body, and if anything feels painful or not right, seek medical attention. Talking about sex and your private areas can be embarrassing, but not doing anything at all will make for a much worse situation.
Email Griffin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.