Dyspareunia is a pain that occurs during or after sexual intercourse or for example, when inserting a tampon. Dyspareunia is considered one of the most common female sexual problems.

Whilst having pain during intercourse is common – it is not normal. There are numerous causes of dyspareunia, many of which are treatable.

People affected with dyspareunia can experience a wide variety of pain such as: burning sensation, burning, itching, cutting pain, stinging, tightness. These pains can often prevent the woman from reaching orgasm.

There are two types of dyspareunia, depending on when the woman feels the pain.

Women with dyspareunia may have pain in vulva or in the vagina.

  • Superficial dyspareunia is a pain at the entrance of the vagina.
  • Deep dyspareunia is deeper pain in the vagina or in the lower abdomen during penetration.


Whether the dyspareunia is of physical, psychological or both origins, women usually present contracture of the pelvic floor muscles to greater or lesser degree, secondary to painful sexual activity and other dysfunctions of the pelvic floor.

For the treatment of dyspareunia expert pelvic floor physiotherapists will aim to desensitise the painful area, reduce fear of penetration and treat musculoskeletal dysfunctions that they encounter. Due to the important emotional component of dyspareunia, this treatment should be done in tandem with a psychologist with expertise in sexual problems.

Case Study

Throughout my professional career I have acquired knowledge which has helped me carry out a holistic approach. Whilst for many patients, treatments focused solely on their pain will be successful, for others this may not be the case. This is because very often the underlying cause of the condition or problem may not be local to where the symptoms or pain are present.

This is where a holistic approach is beneficial as it allows for all avenues (such as posture, joint mobility and pattern movements) to be fully considered in order to relieve the pain effectively.

Take a look at this case study to see how I got to the root of a client’s pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).

Pain during sex

Pain During Sex

A 28-year-old female, shop manager who practiced a lot of sports like swimming, running, weight training and skating, consulted me for deep dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) which she had had…
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