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Pain throughout sexual intercourse, known medically as dyspareunia, which may affect both men and women. Pain can be superficial (around the external genitals) or deep (in the pelvis).



In women, one plausible cause for pain is scarring (such as after childbirth) and not having enough vaginal lubrication, particularly after  the menopause. Psycho sexual dysfunction can also stimulate pain during intercourse. Vaginismus, a condition in which the muscles of the vagina go into spasm, is often caused by psychological issues. Deep pain is commonly caused by pelvic disorders (such as fibroids, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease, caused by sexually transmitted disorders), disorders of the ovary (ovarian cysts, for example), and disorders of the cervix. Other causes of superficial and deep dyspareunia are urinary tract infections and cystitis.

In men, superficial pain can be brought on by anatomical abnormalities like chordee (bowed erection) or phimosis (tight foreskin). Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) can cause a widespread pelvic pain, pain on ejaculation or burning sensation in the penis.  

Treatment of painful intercourse is directed at the underlying cause of the pain. If the discomfort is psychological in origin, special counselling can be necessary.

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