Avoiding sex worsens vulvovaginal pain

A study has found that male partners who are more concerned about women`s chronic pain trigger pain.

New Delhi: A new study has found that male partners who are more supportive and concerned about women`s chronic vulvovaginal pain are likely to trigger more pain, but also boost sexual satisfaction in female partners.

The study conducted by the University of Montreal researchers examined women who suffer from a condition called provoked vestibulodynia (PVD).

"An overly concerned partner may lead a woman to avoid sexual intercourse or exacerbate her pain by increasing her anxiety, hyper-vigilance and negative thoughts about the pain, which can in turn increase her pain during intercourse," said lead author Natalie O. Rosen.

"If a man avoids sexual intercourse with a partner with PVD, then he may also reinforce her negative pain appraisals and that can lead to increased pain during intercourse," she said.

At the same time, the researchers found that a more concerned attitude in partners was linked to greater sexual satisfaction in women with PVD.

"It``s likely that women interpret the attention from their partner as a greater sensitivity and understanding of her pain during sexual activity and that results in greater sexual satisfaction.

" Couples can focus on pleasurable sexual activities other than penetration, or on the emotional benefits of sexual activity such as intimacy and closeness," said Rosen.
As part of the study, 191 heterosexual couples affected by PVD completed questionnaires about the condition.

"This study furthers our understanding of the importance of how couples communicate about PVD in predicting pain and sexual satisfaction in women," said Sophie Bergeron from the University of Montreal.

"The more the partner is overly concerned, from the perspective of the woman and her partner, the more her pain intensity may increase during intercourse. Results of our study can help in the development of targeted psychological interventions to assist couples in coping with PVD," she added.

The Findings were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.