A large survey of almost 7,000 women in the U.K. found that experiencing pain during sex, a condition called dyspareunia, is incredibly common. The survey found that nearly one in 10 women report experiencing painful sex, with women ages 16-24 reporting an especially high incidence of painful sex.
The survey, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that painful sex was most commonly linked to vaginal dryness during sex, feeling anxious during sex, and lack of enjoyment during sex. Some women involved in the survey reported feeling so afraid of pain, they avoided sex altogether.
Painful sex isn't uncommon—according to statistics from the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, 75 percent of women experience pain during sex at some point in their lifetimes. Some sexual pain for women can result simply from a lack of lube (USE LUBE), while other types of pain—particularly persistent pain—can be indicative of a more serious health issue like vulvodynia.
If you're experiencing pain during sex, you can read Cosmo's breakdown of what is and isn't normal, and you should also consider talking with your gynecologist. As the U.K. study found, many of the women who reported having painful sex weren't letting their doctors know out of embarrassment. As with any type of bodily pain, it's important to keep your gyno in the loop if sex is too painful for you to enjoy.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.