Format

Send to

Choose Destination
BJOG. 2017 Oct;124(11):1689-1697. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.14518. Epub 2017 Jan 25.

Painful sex (dyspareunia) in women: prevalence and associated factors in a British population probability survey.

Author information

1
Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health Research, Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
2
MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
3
Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, Research Department of Infection & Population Health, University College London, London, UK.
4
Centre for Sexual Health Research, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
5
Department of Gynaecology, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the prevalence of painful sex among women in Britain, and to explore associated sexual, relationship and health factors that should be considered in assessment.

DESIGN:

Multi-stage, clustered and stratified population probability sample survey, using computer-assisted self-interview. Sample frame was the British Postcode Address File.

SETTING:

Participants interviewed at home between 2010 and 2012.

SAMPLE:

A total of 15 162 adults aged 16-74 years (8869 women). Data reported from 6669 sexually active women.

METHODS:

Age-adjusted logistic regressions to examine associations between painful sex and indicators of sexual, relational, mental and physical health.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Physical pain as a result of sex for ≥3 months in the past year, plus measures of symptom severity.

RESULTS:

Painful sex was reported by 7.5% (95% CI 6.7-8.3) of sexually active women, of whom one-quarter experienced symptoms very often or always, for ≥6 months, and causing distress. Reporting painful sex was strongly associated with other sexual function problems, notably vaginal dryness (age adjusted odds ratio 7.9; 6.17-10.12), anxiety about sex (6.34; 4.76-8.46) and lacking enjoyment in sex (6.12; 4.81-7.79). It was associated with sexual relationship factors [such as not sharing same level of interest in sex (2.56; 1.97-3.33)], as well as with adverse experiences such as non-volitional sex (2.17; 1.68-2.80). Associations were also found with measures of psychological and physical health, including depressive symptoms (1.68; 1.28-2.21).

CONCLUSION:

Painful sex is reported by a sizeable minority of women in Britain. Health professionals should be supported to undertake holistic assessment and treatment which takes account of the sexual, relationship and health context of symptoms.

TWEETABLE ABSTRACT:

Painful sex-reported by 7.5% of women in Britain-is linked to poorer sexual, physical, relational and mental health.

KEYWORDS:

UK ; Britain; co-morbidity; dyspareunia; general population survey; prevalence; sexual dysfunction; sexual function problems; sexual relationship

PMID:
28120373
PMCID:
PMC5638059
DOI:
10.1111/1471-0528.14518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center