Dyspareunia (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders)
Dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse. The same term is used whether the pain results from a medical or a psychosocial problem. Dyspareunia may be diagnosed in men and women, although the diagnosisis rare in men; when it does occur in men, it is almost always caused by a medical problem.
This discussion focuses only on pain with intercourse caused by psychosocial problems; therefore, only women's experiences are emphasized in this entry.
The professional's handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, text revised (known as the DSM-IV-TR) classifies this condition as a sexual dysfunction.
Dyspareunia is any pain experienced any time before, during, or following sexual intercourse. The pain may be located in the genitals or within the pelvis. It is not unusual for women occasionally to experience pain during intercourse. This is not true dyspareunia.
A woman who has dyspareunia often also has vaginismus. This is an involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles in response to penetration. It can make intercourse painful, or impossible.
(The entire section is 1267 words.)
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