Painful sex is a common problem in women, but often also affects men.
There are lots of physical causes including skin problems, infections, side effects to medications as well as many causes of lower abdominal or pelvic pain.
Changes can also occur after the menopause which can lead to sex being painful.
Trying to have sex when not fully aroused or lubricated is another common reason sex is painful. Vaginismus causes painful sex.
Psychological factors can be very important including anxiety, previous harmful experiences and distressing or confusing feelings about sex. Relationship issues are also important.
If you are experiencing painful sex it may be important to have a gentle examination with a specially trained health care professional to look for a physical cause and offer you some treatment if needed.
Often talking the issues through for a few sessions with a therapist or health care professional who can give support and practical advice may help. This may be through your GP or at a sexual health clinic.
NHS conditions: Why does sex hurt? – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Sexual wellbeing: Sexual Wellbeing Resources (wordpress.com)
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