No one feels like having sex if it hurts, but it’s easy for your partner to feel like you don’t care…⁠

Painful sex is something that is not often discussed with anyone, most cases aren’t even reported to the GP when it comes to seeking treatment.

This pain presents physically and emotionally and can severely affect your relationship, self esteem, self worth and mental health.⁠

The pelvic floor muscles play a HUGE role in sexual pain. If they become dysfunctional, too tight, overactive or sensitive, then they can make intercourse very painful. This pain can also be present when inserting tampons, undergoing internal examinations (papsmears, swabs etc.) and during your period.⁠

What conditions do we see this in?⁠

  • Endometriosis⁠⠀
  • Vulvodynia/vaginismus⁠⠀
  • Pelvic congestion syndrome⁠⠀
  • Vaginal infections⁠⠀
  • Post vaginal births or c-sections⁠⠀
  • Lichen sclerosis⁠⠀
  • Dermatitis⁠

What predisposes someone to painful sex?⁠

  • Stress⁠⠀
  • Repetitive and intense abdominal exercises⁠⠀
  • History of sexual abuse⁠⠀
  • Vaginal dryness⁠⠀
  • Menopause ⁠⠀
  • Radiation therapy for cancer patients⁠

What can you do about it?⁠


  • Pelvic floor muscle re-training and down-training⁠⠀
  • Body scanning and meditation⁠⠀
  • Vaginal dilator use⁠⠀
  • Internal muscle releases⁠⠀
  • External muscle releases⁠⠀
  • Self pleasure⁠⠀
  • Diaphragmatic/deep breathing exercises⁠⠀
  • What ever helps you destress – your physio will explain this one only if stress might be a big factor causing your pain⁠

These should only be used under the guidance of a qualified Women’s Health Physio.⁠

This is my favourite area to treat as I have seen so many AMAZING benefits from Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. There is nothing more satisfying then helping a patient regain her intimacy and literally change her relationship with her body and partner.

Disclaimer: This is general advice only, ensure you always seek individualised advice from your Physiotherapist before commencing treatment.

Sarah Anderson BExSc, DPT (Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist)