Having sex with your other half should be fun, but that's not often the case for some as it causes a lot of pain.
For millions of women, pain or discomfort during a steamy session is an agonising reality which could also have an impact on their mental health.
Experts have estimated that at least one in 13 British women experience pain or discomfort during sex.
The condition, called dyspareunia, covers a number of reasons why getting intimate might hurt, including vaginal dryness and STIs.
But the important thing to do whenever you’re facing any problems under the sheets is to visit your local GP and speak to a professional.
So here are four reasons why sex may be hurting for you.
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1. Unprotected sex
Sexually transmitted infections occur when a couple don’t use contraception and have unprotected sex.
For women, STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes can sometimes cause vaginal irritation and painful sores.
Nowadays you can order self-test STIs kits online where you can check yourself, but it’s important to know that they’re not always 100% accurate.
Should you feel like there’s an issue down there, book an appointment at the GP or visit your local pharmacy.
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2. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness is more common during menopause, but could cause irritation if you’re taking hormonal contraceptives or are pregnant.
Experiencing dryness down there can also have an impact on sex and make intercourse slightly uncomfortable or painful.
A visit to the GP is recommended, but Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director of pelvic health company Kegel8, told The Sun that finding a natural, water-based lubricant can help during sex.
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The rare condition affects 10% of women in the world which has symptoms including heavy periods, fatigue, severe menstrual cramps and pain during sex.
Endometriosis occurs when bits of the tissue that lines the uterus grow on other pelvic organs, such as ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Outside the uterus, endometrial tissue thickens and bleeds, just as the normal endometrium does during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
If you think you have the condition, you should book to speak to your GP.
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The condition is when a woman experiences involuntary contraction of muscles around the opening of the vagina.
During sex, the tight muscle contraction makes intercourse or any intimate activity that involves penetration painful or even impossible.
Vaginismus varies from person to person, as some women are unable to insert anything into their vagina, while others can use tampons but can’t have sex.
If your GP thinks you’re suffering from the condition, you will probably be referred to a sexual therapist to help you.
But speaking to your partner about it and training your pelvic floor muscles are also ways to help with the condition.
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