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Painful Intercourse – Bad Advice

There can be numerous reasons for painful intercourse, ranging from psychological to physical.
Painful intercourse (Dyspareunia)   The medical term for painful intercourse is dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-ne-uh) — which is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. ~ Mayo Clinic Unfortunately, it is difficult to know the exact prevalence of dyspareunia with studies showing ranges from 7% to 60%, depending on the inclusion and defining criteria. ( There can be numerous reasons for painful intercourse, ranging from psychological to physical. Regardless of the source of the pain, the most important factor is that when a patient seeks help for painful intercourse, healthcare professionals should do their absolute best to help find the right treatment or combination of treatments. Far too often we hear complaints from patients regarding the terrible advice regarding this topic. BAD ADVICE REVEALED (Shockingly, real advice given to patients – reported by patients)
  • “Just live with it. There’s nothing you can do”
  • “Just drink some wine and the pain will all go away”
  • “See a psychiatrist- it must be in your head”
  • “Do you think women in Africa who are starving are thinking about this? Get a hobby or a job” (Yes…this was stated)
  • “Just think about a pain somewhere else in the body and it will go away”
  • “Wish the pain away. Positive thoughts are the answer”
  • “Since I can’t see anything that could be causing it, I’m sure it’s not that bad”
  • “You are fine. You are just spending too much time thinking about it”
  • “Your husband will appreciate it if you just don’t say anything”
  • If you don’t feel comfortable with the advice your receive, keep searching for a healthcare provider who is willing to help and explore your symptoms. It may take several different visits to find the right match. Some patients report at least 7-10 different healthcare providers. Don’t give up!
  • Reach out for resources in your community. We will continue to provide resources for you. Stay posted!
  • You should not have to just “live with it”. Painful intercourse has an effect on you and can put a strain on a relationship.
  • It’s NOT your fault.
What do YOU think? Have you heard this type of bad advice? If you are interested in more pelvic health education, please see our online platform, Pelvic Guru Academy for some amazing courses!

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  1. Samantha Gluck on April 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Great post! I wrote a feature story for Balanced Living Magazine a couple of months ago about FSD (female sexual dysfunction) and painful intercourse was one of the primary causes (if not THE number one cause) of sexual dysfunction/dissatisfaction in women.

    There IS help out there. Women need to get over their shyness in talking about it and ask for help.

    • Pelvic Guru on April 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Absolutely! Painful intercourse is a subject that is far from glamorous, but we treat patients every day who are dealing with it. The first thing patients say is “I wish I would have known I could have been helped…I just suffered in silence.” It’s great to connect!

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