Some women have vestibulodynia, and because of that they feel like they're poor sexual partners—they can't enjoy sex or can't have sex at all. Vestibulodynia (previously known as vulvar vestibulitis) is a condition characterized by intense burning sensations at that part where the vulva meets with the vagina, or in other words, the opening of the vagina.
And it's not just sex that causes the burn if a woman has vestibulodynia. That area is highly sensitive, so even the lightest touch at the opening of the vagina would make her wince. That means inserting a tampon is hell, and so is wearing skin-tight jeans. Swimming can be painful too.
Researchers haven't yet identified what brings about vestibulodynia, but they are studying it and interviewing women who have it. What they do know is that it's not an active infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Current speculations on the condition's cause include an injury in the nerves of the vulva and pelvic floor muscle weakness.
Since the causes are unknown, treatment right now focuses on alleviating the pain that comes with vestibulodynia. Gynecologists, dermatologists, neurologists, urogynecologists, and physical therapists may be tapped to help manage the burning feeling. They can give meds or pelvic floor muscle therapy, or perform surgery.
But there are also some emotional scars that must be dealt with too. Women who have the condition feel bad that they can't have sex/make love/be physically intimate with their boyfriend or husband. Some don't tell their partner so they have to endure the pain while they have sex. Seeing a therapist or psychologist should help.
If you have similar symptoms when you have sex or when anything comes into contact with your vagina or vulva, don't keep it to yourself. Pain during intercourse is not normal. Know, too, that you don't have to have sex to please your partner if it's practically impossible for you. Researchers looking into the condition are working on spreading information about it, so all the more reason you don't have to feel ashamed of saying no to sex. You might also be happy to know that the men don't leave their girlfriends or wives and are still there for their partners even when there's no sex in the relationship.
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