“It hurts when we have sex.”
When a woman in my intimacy coaching private practice shares this with me, I know it can mean many things.
A while ago in a nationally-representative sex research study, one-third of the women indicated that they had recently experienced pain in a sexual encounter. That is A LOT of women. It made me realize that pain is apparently a common occurrence in women’s sexual experiences, sadly.
When something related to sex hurts and we don’t like it, it can mean we’ll learn to avoid sexual activity in the future. So figuring out what and why the pain is happening is important for many reasons.
In my private practice, I ask questions such as: “Where do you feel the pain — inside or outside? If it is outside, where on your vulva or vaginal entrance? If it’s inside, how deep inside? What does the pain feel like — an ache, stabbing feeling, stinging, or something else? On a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being the worst pain ever, what level is it?” Each answer I receive leads to more questions and nuances.
Because this is a complicated and uncomfortable topic for many women, I was thrilled today to discover that Oh Nut, one of my favorite companies that was founded by Emily Sauer, a smart and funny woman, has created the Pain Perception Project. They have a free assessment tool to help women identify what’s going on with their sexual pain. And then women can share their results with the medical or sexuality professionals with whom they are working.
Check out the Pain Perception Project by Oh Nut!
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus – San Diego Sexologist, Intimacy Coach, Sex Speaker, & Sociologist