Penetrative sex can be uncomfortable, but sometimes it really hurts...like I-am-doubled-over-in-pain hurts. The medical term for this is dyspareunia, which refers to recurring or persistent pain before, during, or after sex, according to the Mayo Clinic. The pain might only occur upon entry, penetration with anything (like a tampon), deep thrusting, or a combination of those — and the level of pain can range from mild to severe.
Pain is a complex and multifaceted issue, so there isn't always one single explanation or treatment. And it can be very frustrating when something that's supposed to be pleasurable causes pain and discomfort instead. So we spoke to two experts to find out what can cause painful sex and and which treatments are out there: Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine; and Dr. Shannon Chavez, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist in Los Angeles.
FYI, for the purposes of this article we are focusing on penetrative vaginal sex — so that means sex involving a penis or finger or dildo (or any other toy) going into the vagina.