Dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse due to medical or psychological causes. The pain can primarily be on the external surface of the genitalia, or deeper in the pelvis upon deep pressure against the cervix. It can affect a small portion of the vulva or vagina or be felt all over the surface. Understanding the duration, location, and nature of the pain is important in identifying the causes of the pain.
Numerous physical, psychological, and social or relationship causes can contribute to pain during sexual encounters. Commonly, multiple underlying causes contribute to the pain. The pain can be acquired or congenital. Symptoms of dyspareunia may also occur after menopause. Diagnosis is typically by physical examination and medical history.
Underlying causes determine treatment. Many women experience relief when physical causes are identified and treated.
The role of male circumcision
Warren & Bigelow (1994) reported that the foreskin "provides slack skin on the shaft of the erect penis allowing it to glide within its own sheath of skin during intercourse. This provides for more enjoyable intercourse for both partners and avoids problems with vaginal dryness." It follows that when the foreskin is amputated by circumcision, the gliding action is not present, so vaginal abrasions and pain are more likely. O'Hara & O'Hara (1999) reported that "[w]omen were also more likely to state that they had had vaginal discomfort with a circumcised partner either often or occasionally as opposed to rarely or never."
- Loofbourow, Lili (25 January 2018).
The female price of male pleasure, The Week. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
- Wikipedia article: Dyspareunia. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
- Latthe, P., Latthe, M., Say, L., Gülmezoglu, M., Khan, K.S.. WHO systematic review of prevalence of chronic pelvic pain: a neglected reproductive health morbidity. BMC Public Health. 6 July 2006; 6(1): 177. PMID. PMC. DOI.
- Warren, John, Bigelow, Jim. The case against circumcision. Br J Sex Med. September 1994; : 6-8. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- O'Hara, K, O'Hara, J. The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner. BJU Int. 1 January 1999; 83 Suppl 1: 79-84. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 19 June 2020.