Whether what comes out of it is a child or a relationship, sexual intercourse is among the most personal and pleasurable experiences in a personís life. Regardless of oneís theological bent, nobody is to deny the important practical function of intercourse, not to mention that, barring a massive calamity, it is hardly going to be a torturous experience. Physiologically speaking, nerves in the respective genitalia of the genders assure this much to be true. But as anything in life, there are contradictions to the pleasurable aspects of sex. An example of such is Dyspareunia. Though this may be diagnosed in men, the primary sufferers of dyspareunia are females. This disorder is characterized by women and their recurrent or persistent experiences of pain before, during, or following sexual intercourse. This pain is primarily located in the genitals or within the pelvis. Though the reasons for it may be physiological, women with reported dyspareunia have largely been connected to psychological symptoms.



A common type of insertional dyspareunia is known as vaginismus. This is caused by intense involuntary contraction of the perineal muscles surrounding parts of the outer part of the vagina. This tightening of the vaginal muscles and its lack of lubrication is only one manifestation of dyspareunia. However, it is the most commonly diagnosed form because it affects male penetration by making intercourse painful, if not impossible. As a result, avoiding discussion of dyspareunia out of insecurities or embarrassment becomes impossible.

The range of physical factors that impact women from enjoying sex are many: complications in vaginal openings such as inflammation, infection of glands, or pain at the site of the episiotomy following childbirth. Add the possible complications involving the clitoris and the vagina itself, and dyspareunia becomes a profound problem. Even if these physiological pains subside, the affected person is distressed by the experiences of pain creating a positive feedback cycle by making it difficult to become aroused creating another form of dyspareunia etc. etc.

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What this cycle does show is that once medical causes are ruled out, psychosexual development and psychosexual theories come into effect. Indeed, the consensus among medical professionals is that the source of dyspareunia is rooted in the mind, more than it is in the body itself. There are many possible psychological causes to dyspareunia. Prior sexual trauma is an example of such. There are two types of dyspareunia: First, the condition that has been present since the first sexual contact and, second, the one that kicks in after a period of normal sexual reactions. The latter is often viewed from a medical perspective, though that too is not always the case. But the former is often associated with sexual traumas, such as rape and abuse, which develops a negative view on sexual intercourse. Intercourse triggers memories, anxiety, and stress that manifest itself physically through some pain or involuntary muscle contractions.

[ad#downcont]Of course, there are many other possible psychological causes of dyspareunia. Guilt, relationship stress, insecurities, or depression can all result in projecting pain into the most personal act a person can engage in. Beyond medication and lubrication for medical conditions, there are also treatments available for the psychological causes. Psychosexual therapy delves into the origin of stress and offers tips as to how the technique can be changed to make it pleasurable. Couples therapy attempts to restore the intimacy between the two partners: shifting the focus of sex from shame to celebration. With that considered, curing dyspareunia is easier said than done. Just as the problem is often sourced at the mind, so too must be its solutions.

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