Durex is right – why is sex painful for so many women?

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
[Photos: Durex]

Durex has released an advertisement which tackles the issue of women having painful sex.

The short video, which promotes the brand’s Naturals Intimate Gel, asks: “Why do we still put up with uncomfortable sex?”

The advert features a number of women in their 20s, and explores how vaginal dryness at certain times of the menstrual cycle can affect sexual pleasure.

Uncomfortable – or painful – sex is an issue which can affect women of all ages and for a number of different reasons, explains gynaecologist Tania Adib of MonaLisa Touch.

Why do women experience painful sex?

Pain during sex can be down to everything from a low libido to an underlying medical issue.

According to Adib, reasons could include:

  • An infection such as thrush or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Vaginisimus, a condition where muscles in or around the vagina shut tightly, making sex painful or impossible
  • A lack of sexual arousal
  • Genital irritation caused by spermicides, latex condoms or products such as soap and shampoo

The menopause, when a woman stops having periods, is also a time where sex may be more painful than usual, Adib explains.

This process generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 for women in the UK.

“This is often due to having low libido, which may be the result of hormone imbalance. It is often associated with other symptoms of the menopause such as night sweats, fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety.

“Vaginal dryness linked to the menopause can cause this drop in libido. This is because, as oestrogen levels fall, cells in the lining of the vagina may become thinner, tighter, drier, and therefore less elastic, making it painful to have sex.”

However, it isn’t all bad for women going through the menopause, as the libido tends to recover afterwards.

“Some women worry about their sudden drop in sexual interest, but when you get your hormones back in balance, you can often find that there is an increase in sexual desire,” says Adib.

While the Durex advert been praised for bringing light to an important issue, not every well-meaning campaign receives such a positive receptions.

Last week week, shaving brand Gillette fell under fire for its “Is this the best a man can be” campaign, which aimed to tackle toxic masculinity.

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