Painful sex or pain during sexual intercourse is known as Dyspareunia in medical terms and there could be a number of reasons for it.

One factor that can help determine the cause for pain during sex is the location of the pain – is it on the outside (for instance caused by vaginal dryness or soreness) or deeper within (due to infection, cysts etc).

Reasons for Painful SexThough there could also be a psychological element to painful sex, there are a number of physical conditions that are responsible for pain during sex.

Vaginismus

This is an involuntary clenching of spasm of the vaginal muscles that is caused mainly due to a fear of getting hurt. It can be one reason and this condition can be rooted in a restrictive upbringing, abuse, or relationship difficulties among other reasons.

Infections

One of the common symptoms of a number of sexually transmitted disease such as herpes sores, genital warts and so on. Also other non sexually transmitted vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infections and similar conditions could cause a woman to experience pain during sex.

In these cases, other symptoms will also be present and should be evaluated for proper treatment which will usually resolve the issue of painful sex.

Endometriosis

This is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus causing pain and other symptoms such as painful periods, infertility, etc.

Cysts, fibroids, etc.

Sometimes it is certain growths in the female reproductive organs that could cause pain – ovarian cysts are usually harmless but some kinds of cysts could cause pain. Uterine Fibroids are also generally benign growths that may in some cases result in painful sex.

Pre-cancerous conditions

Sometimes painful sex is the warning sign of very serious conditions such as the beginning of cervical cancer or other cancers such as those of the vulva, vagina and so on. These should get prompt attention.

Injury or irritation

It could be a physical injury or trauma (including childbirth tears and so on) that could be responsible for painful sex; usually this would resolve and heal with time. Sometimes chemical irritation or similar (use of intimate hygiene items, detergent and so on) could also cause pain.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is potentially life threatening and should be dealt with on an emergency basis.

Menopause

Vaginal dryness, lack of interest in sex and so on are common symptoms of menopause, which could result in painful sex.

Intercourse too soon after childbirth

This could also be responsible for causing pain during sex.