Vulvodynia: the Most Frequent Cause of Painful Sex

“Vulvodynia is a leading cause of painful sex & affects up to 3.2 million women in the UK, yet it is often misdiagnosed & under-reported. It affects the vulva – the area surrounding the entrance to the vagina, including the labia & clitoris” [1].

In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “75% of women will have pain during intercourse at some point in their lives. For many, this pain will be temporary, but for others it is an ongoing problem that profoundly impacts their sex lives, relationships, and self-esteem” [2]. Further, the irony is that sufferers are often too embarrassed to speak about their condition, or visit an experienced Pain Specialist who will be able to give them a proper diagnosis. But for those women who do, many can ameliorate their condition and put their intimate relationships back on track.

Vulvodynia, just like various other chronic health conditions, can destroy your intimate relationship, and having sexual intercourse may be far too painful, thus making partaking in it impossible, no matter how much you want to continue life as usual.

Visiting a Pain Specialist

This should be your number one priority if you think that you may have vulvodynia. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your Pain Specialist will put you on a Personalised Holistic Treatment Plan. This will often involve a combination of conventional and the latest cutting-edge treatments.

Start Talking to Your Partner About Your Condition

The renowned National Vulvodynia Association in the US, recommends opening up about your challenges with your partner who has probably never even heard the word, vulvodynia. The organisation notes that: “discussing your concerns and fears, or what’s painful or pleasurable, will lay the groundwork for a satisfying sexual relationship. At first, these conversations may make you uncomfortable, but it will get easier with practice” [3].

Some of the key things here, include finding the right time and environment to get the conversation going. – A time when you are both relaxed, and not having to do anything, or rush off anywhere. Writing down various points that you would like to bring up beforehand, is an excellent idea – so jot them down on a piece of paper to have them ready. Further, be prepared to listen to each other without interrupting. For example, your partner may like to suggest other ways in which they can be sexually fulfilled, and would not like not to be taken seriously [3]…

[1]. Patient (2018). “Understanding vulvodynia and why it causes painful sex.”

[2]. Hills, R. “Sex Talk Realness: How to Deal With Painful Sex.” Cosmopolitan.

[3]. National Vulvodynia Association. “Overcoming Challenges in Your Intimate Relationship.”