Women can experience painful intercourse for a variety of reasons and it's more common than most people might think. The pain can be a result of intercourse or even just when the area is touched or stimulated, and it can range from mild to severe. It may be caused by anatomical problems, a hormonal imbalance, blood flow issues or even psychological concerns. It is not uncommon for women to experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives, but treatments that focus on the underlying causes can help eliminate or reduce this common problem.

How can I support my partner?

First of all, the fact that you’re reading this is a significant step and one that is so important to providing support to your partner. Encouragement and understanding from a partner are critical elements of treatment because they give women the courage to move forward and address the issues that may be contributing to their pain.

Second, it’s important for your partner to identify the type of pain they’re experiencing so they can be properly diagnosed and treated. Types of pelvic pain may include:


  • Characterized by an involuntary tightness of the vagina during attempted intercourse
  • Partner say it feels like they’re hitting a brick wall
  • Most common pain condition we see and it is 100% treatable!
  • Not only is this a physical issue but fear and anxiety often accompany it and requires psychological interventions as well
  • Believed to effect 7-16% of women, but actual number is likely much higher
  • Treatment options: vaginal dilation, topical medications, anti-anxiety medications, Botox treatment under anesthesia
  • Not sure if it’s vaginismus? Take our Vaginismus Quiz

Vulvodynia & Vestibulodynia:

  • Refers to any pain in the vulvar area that’s felt when there is external pressure or attempted intercourse
  • May be caused by medications that have affected the tissue, lack of hormones needed by the area, overactive nerve endings or other medical conditions
  • Treatment options: managing medications and topical products as well as treating any underlying muscles

There's support for you too!

We hear from partners of those suffering from pelvic pain all of the time:

  • “I’m truly struggling to stay in this relationship.”
  • “What can I do to help her?”
  • “I feel rejected.”
  • “I’m at the end of my rope.”

You should know you’re not alone. Visit our Vaginismus Forum for Men where you can read about what others are experiencing and how they’re handling it,  share your story and ask questions, or gain valuable advise from other partners as well as the women who are either dealing with pelvic pain or who have overcome it.

Our blog is also a great source of information about what your partner may be going through; specifically, you may find Partners in Vaginismus to be helpful.