Why Does Sex Hurt?
Problems in the bedroom are not limited to erectile dysfunction in men. From all the ads on TV for erectile dysfunction medications, you would think that every man has this issue and that this it is the only problem between the sheets. You never hear or see any information about women and the sexual problems that we have. It is a shame. Women experience sexual problems with the same frequency as men, but they rarely get treated. 44 percent of women in this country will experience some degree of sexual dysfunction in their lifetime! That is almost half. Low desire is the most common one, but PAIN with intercourse is the most distressful. Approximately 20 percent of women will experience painful sex and it often is a chronic problem. It can destroy a relationship and do untold damage to a woman’s self-esteem. It can dramatically increase the risk of depression, also. Many believe that depression leads to sexual dysfunction, but the converse is also true. Women who have pain with intercourse are two-and-a-half times as likely to be depressed than the general population, and women who are unable to reach orgasm are over five times as likely to be depressed.
Women experiencing pain during sex often feel alone. They don’t know who to talk to or where to get help, and they often are misunderstood by their partners. Some women end up believing it is their fault and are accused of it being “all in their heads.” “Just relax; you’re too tense.” “Have a glass of wine” and “it will be ok.” How many of you have been told things like this? Far too many, I suspect. Well, ladies, you are not alone and this is not in your heads. Pain with intercourse is very real and there are numerous causes that, once properly identified, CAN BE TREATED. 97 percent of women with pain during intercourse have an identifiable cause. Unfortunately, most women will not get the help they are looking for.
Ironically, your doctor will not tell you the three most common causes of painful intercourse. Why? Because they don’t know about it! The problem is poorly understood. To add insult to injury, the causes of pain with intercourse go largely untreated, or worse, mistreated. Why is this? Well, first of all, let’s be honest. Female sexual issues as a whole are not taken very seriously in our society and have largely been ignored by the medical community. Here is a fact that reflects this. There are 26 FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction and not one for women!
That’s Right, Not One!
The FDA does not believe that female sexual dysfunctions are REAL medical conditions. I personally find that appalling, but I am hopeful that this will change. It does not help that the study of female sexual dysfunction (which includes painful intercourse) is relatively new. Gynecologists and urologists, the two specialties that deal with the male and female sexual organs, get very little, if any, training on female sexual dysfunction (FSD). I am boarded in both general urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPM-RS), but the training I have done in female sexual health I sought out separately. Organizations such as the AUA (American Urologic Association) and ISSWSH (The Society for The Study of Female Sexual Health) offer several post graduate courses in the subject. Fortunately, there are a growing number of physicians who dedicate their lives to the study and treatment of women with sexual dysfunction. If you live in a metropolitan area, you may have a dedicated sexual medical clinic in your area. If it is necessary, I can help you find a physician in your area that is trained in Female Sexual Dysfunction.