| Caroline Knight
Sometimes the very thought of sex can strike fear into the hearts of women who genuinely want to have a good time and feel connected to their partners. Women of various cultures and ages suffer from dyspareunia (painful sex). When a woman is scared to have sex because it hurts, she may feel a lot of pressure to just deal with the problem in her own. This may not be a viable option though; it really depends on the underlying reason why sex hurts.
Unfortunately there are still plenty of stigmas around sexual conditions of all kinds, and people often don’t want to speak up about any degree of sexual dysfunction. They may feel embarrassed, or wish to avoid disappointing or worrying their partners. When women are scared to have sex there is usually a very good reason why. However, that reason may not always be totally clear to them. Perhaps all they know is that sex hurts every time, which is enough to put anyone off the idea!
We have put together a summary of possible reasons sex hurts so that you can get to the bottom of your problem and set off on the path to healing.
Possible reasons you’re scared to have sex
Nobody could blame you for trying to avoid pain… but painful sex is another story entirely, since it can also create emotional and confidence issues over time. If you are scared to have sex, it is no doubt diminishing the quality of your relationship, or life in general.
Here are some of the main reasons sex hurts:
Physical reasons sex hurts
- You have inflammation around your vaginal opening
- You have an infection of some kind (dermatological or yeast infection, or STD)
- You have vulvodynia (soreness from over-responsive nerves in the vaginal area)
- You have vaginismus (involuntary spasms and tightening of the vaginal muscles)
- You have pudendal neuralgia (nerve damage to the pelvic area)
- You have had surgery in the pelvic area
- You’re going through or have reached the menopause (resulting in vaginal atrophy)
- You are not producing enough lubrication (perhaps through hormone decline)
If any of these issues seem likely to you, it is worth checking in with your health practitioner for an assessment. Some problems are easier to treat than others, but it is unlikely that any of the above will resolve without intervention of some kind. In the case of lack of lubrication, you may wish to try a water-based personal lubricant.
Psychological dyspareunia causes
When you’re scared to have sex because it hurts, you might be surprised to find that the cause is psychological. If there are no obvious physical signs of discomfort except when you have sex, and you think you can rule out vaginismus, it is worth thinking about whether the cause of your dyspareunia is psychological.
Most psychological causes can result in either dryness through lack of natural lubrication, or muscle tension from anxiety. The latter could appear to be vaginismus, and although vaginismus can have psychological causes, a professional would need to confirm this condition.
- You’ve lost your sex drive (libido)
- You have unresolved psychological traumas around sex
- You have performance anxiety, making you anxious or prone to muscle tension
- Your hormones are out of balance, leading to mood disorders or emotional problems (as can happen in the perimenopause)
- You’re having problems in your relationship (so have gone off sex)
- You’re stressed out in general and this is spilling over into the bedroom
It is worth thinking about whether you have any deep-rooted emotional responses that are making you scared to have sex. If you think this could be the problem, sometimes a sexual therapist or counselor is the best port of call.
The bottom line is that if you are regularly scared to have sex because it hurts, before this becomes a vicious circle it is wise to check in with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying causes. It isn’t a problem to ignore or take lightly, and once you know what the cause is, you may be surprised at how easy it is to find the right treatment for your issue.