What Is Sex Like With Vulvodynia? How One Couple Coped When Intercourse Became Painful

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When Tara was 26, she started feeling a burning pain at the entrance to her vagina during sex. She worried that if she told her husband Jason she didn’t want to sleep with him anymore, he’d be disappointed. Tara has vulvodynia, or chronic vaginal pain. And while many women fear that this condition spells the end of their sex lives and possibly their relationships, Tara and Jason want other couples dealing with vulvodynia and other forms of vaginal pain to know they can still enjoy fulfilling sex lives.

About one in 10 women experiences pain during sex, according to a study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Vulvodynia is but one of many culprits. Another is endometriosis, which Tara has also dealt with. So early on in her and Jason’s relationship, they learned the importance of communicating about pain during sex.

The burning sensation was new, though. Tara told Jason about this discomfort each time she experienced it, and thankfully, he was supportive. “I would describe the pain as becoming worse and the area feeling raw with a burning sensation,” she tells Bustle. Once it got unbearable, they decided not to have intercourse regularly. They tried four times over the course of the following year, but they’d end up stopping soon after they started.

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