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One-Third of Women Really Experience Pain During Sex

Do One-Third of Women Really Experience Pain During Sex?

We're thrilled to present our favorite Double X story here on TrèsSugar.

Earlier this week, Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion released the results of a new nationally representative survey of American sexual behavior. The study covered everything from condom use to the increased popularity of anal sex, as Slate's William Saletan has extolled.

What, exactly, is going on? Why are so many women experiencing pain during sex? We don't know. That's both the answer to the question, and the root of the problem. American attitudes about sex keep us from sharing and learning crucial information with each other, and they stymie scientific attempts to learn more about why sex is painful for so many women. We, the fine, sex-having people of America, don't know how to speak openly about our sex lives and, as a result, scientists don't have the resources or the knowledge to help us improve them.

Dr. Debby Herbenick, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion and one of the study's co-authors, believes that "the way women and men are talked to about sex when they're growing up is very different." Women, she said, are often told to expect that sex will be painful, and "have this sense that sex is supposed to hurt. So when they have sex and it hurts, they're not surprised and they don't talk to a doctor and they don't talk to a partner and they don't say it to their friends." There is also probably pressure to stick to the cultural consensus that sex is always pleasurable.


A silver lining: Few women reported being in a great deal of pain. But the survey didn't go into much detail — it didn't explore the location, duration, or nature of the pain, nor did it ask if the pain was a one-time occurrence or a chronic problem. So there's a lot more to learn about this.

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Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Yes, The Pill can DEFINITELY be the cause (change in hormones). I was on The Pill for about a year and a half before I switch to LoEstrin 24. Within 2 months, my sex drive was gone and sex was excruciating. It took a few months to get that out of my system and the pain stopped. I've talked to other women who experienced the same thing. Found this: And this: "Some studies have also indicated that the pill can decrease the frequency of some women's sexual thoughts, make becoming aroused more difficult, or decrease lubrication, making sex painful."
LaSigh LaSigh 6 years
I think birth control *might* have something to do with it. I have always had a healthy sex drive and never had pain until I got on Depo this year. I had no libido and it was hard to become lubricated. Being that on it, I was really only having sex for him (seriously no libido) sex did become painful. I'm coming off of it now- my sex drive is improving and sex is not painful anymore. Different women have different reactions to birth control pills. Loss of libido also is a side effect of many anti depressants and other medications. Of course, the hymen not being broken enough is also a reason.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 6 years
" I blame the pill." sorry but i don't think it has nothing to do with it =/ Maybe is it a problem of hymen not enough broken ? Some girls have to make it remove by surgery. Lubrican also helps a lot to remove pain. But it's weird, i never heard of so much woman feeling pain during the act. I mean, to start yes, it's usual, but not always Oo
Pistil Pistil 6 years
It only hurts in the wrong position or not enough lubrication. I also get crampy afterwards. Again, I get the short end of the stick. I'm fortunate enough to have a friend who shares my pain (it might be a little different, she's had endometriosis). And we complain about how sex is never as glamorous as Hollywood makes it out to be, and we wonder why anyone would want a large penis.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
I have been fortunate enough to have been with a few men who were so well endowed they would hurt me if they went too deep, nothing other than that. It's really a shame so many women are ashamed to discuss this, it seems like all the 'sexual revolution' has done is make us believe we're defective if our sex lives aren't wild and perfect.
chequettex chequettex 6 years
I wouldn't call it pain (though I would answer that survey question "yes") I would call it very uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough so that I don't really enjoy sex. But I know what it the problem is - my husband's just not good at sex, and I'm just not good at communication of what would be better. I really don't have a clue - I thought he would figure that out. I'm just SOL I guess, along with 1/3 of other American women.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 6 years
Pain, hum like every time sex happens ? (i just don't get correctly the info) Maybe because the guy tries to go too far ? Sorry, i just ton get what the pain is exactly about, i just read it one on a site, but i guess we can feel why we have this pain, so it must not be it... =/
stephley stephley 6 years
It's interesting - the Catholic high school I attended gave us week-long sex ed classes with a couples from Masters & Johnson and they didn't talk about pain; but my daughter's Catholic school had a week last year, and she came home talking about pain, stds, abortion, even cottage cheese. I'm still trying to put things into context for her.
amber512 amber512 6 years
My doctors and I haven't been able to determine the cause ofthe pain, but I definitely feel it!
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