Advertisement

Why Do Young Women Continue to Have Sexual Intercourse Despite Pain?

      Abstract

      Purpose

      Many young women suffer from pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse, and an increasing number of them seek help for their problems. It seems that some young women continue to have sexual intercourse despite pain. However, their motives are unclear.

      Methods

      A total of 16 women, aged 14 to 20 years, with variable degrees of coital pain were selected at a youth center in a city in southeastern Sweden, to explore why they continued to have sexual intercourse despite pain. The women participated in audiotaped qualitative individual interviews, which were analyzed using the constant comparative method from grounded theory.

      Results

      During the analysis we identified the core category striving to be affirmed in their image of an ideal woman and the categories resignation, sacrifice, and feeling guilt. The perceived ideal women had several distinct characteristics, such as willingness to have sexual intercourse, being perceptive of their partner's sexual needs, and being able to satisfy their partners. Having sexual intercourse per se was considered to be an affirmation of being a normal woman, irrespective of pain or discomfort.

      Conclusions

      These young women's focus on a constructed ideal explains why they continue to have sexual intercourse despite pain. Greater awareness of these beliefs among gynecologists, sexologists, and other healthcare professionals involved in the management of young women with coital pain would be beneficial.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Adolescent Health
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

      1. Regeringens proposition [Government proposition] 2002/03:35.
        (Accessed June 7, 2007)
        • FSUM
        Policyprogramme for Sweden's Youth Centres.
        ([Online]) (Accessed June 7, 2007)
        • Cromer B.A.
        • McCarthy M.
        Family planning services in adolescent pregnancy prevention: the views of key informants in four countries.
        Fam Plann Perspect. 1999; 31: 287-293
        • Danielsson M.
        • Rogala C.
        • Sundström K.
        Teenage Sexual and Reproductive Behavior in Developed Countries: Country Report for Sweden.
        (Occasional Report, No. 7) Alan Guttmacher, New York2001 ([Online]) (Accessed June 26, 2007)
        • Crosby R.A.
        • Di Clemente R.J.
        • Wingood G.M.
        • et al.
        Correlates of unprotected vaginal sex among African American female adolescents: importance of relationship dynamics.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000; 154: 893-899
        • Christianson M.
        • Johansson E.
        • Emmelin M.
        • et al.
        “One-night stands”—risky trips between lust and trust: qualitative interviews with Chlamydia trachomatis infected youth in North Sweden.
        Scand J Public Health. 2003; 31: 44-50
        • Haggstrom-Nordin E.
        • Hanson U.
        • Tyden T.
        Sex behavior among high school students in Sweden: improvement in contraceptive use over time.
        J Adolesc Health. 2002; 30: 288-295
        • Sellgren U.
        • Voog E.
        • Zoger S.
        [Superficial pain in connection with coitus is a complex pain syndrome.].
        Lakartidningen. 2000; 97 (In Swedish): 5343-5345
        • Danielsson I.
        • Eisemann M.
        • Sjoberg I.
        • et al.
        Vulvar vestibulitis: a multi-factorial condition.
        Bjog. 2001; 108: 456-461
        • Danielsson I.
        • Sjoberg I.
        • Wikman M.
        Vulvar vestibulitis: medical, psychosexual and psychosocial aspects, a case–control study.
        Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000; 79: 872-878
        • Graziottin A.
        Clinical approach to dyspareunia.
        J Sex Marital Ther. 2001; 27: 489-501
        • Meana M.
        • Binik Y.M.
        Painful coitus: a review of female dyspareunia.
        J Nerv Ment Dis. 1994; 182: 264-272
        • Meana M.
        • Binik Y.M.
        • Khalife S.
        • et al.
        Dyspareunia: more than bad sex.
        Pain. 1997; 71: 211-212
        • Nunns D.
        Vulval pain syndromes.
        Bjog. 2000; 107: 1185-1193
        • Sadownik L.A.
        Clinical profile of vulvodynia patients.
        J Reprod Med. 2000; 45: 679-684
        • Binik Y.M.
        Should dyspareunia be retained as a sexual dysfunction in DSM-V?.
        Arch Sex Behav. 2005; 34: 11-21
        • Nunns D.
        Vulvodynia and the primary health care physician.
        AIDS Patient Care STDS. 1997; 11: 345-351
        • Berglund A.L.
        • Nigaard L.
        • Rylander E.
        Vulvar pain, sexual behavior and genital infections in a young population: a pilot study.
        Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2002; 81: 738-742
        • Lewin B.
        • Fugl-Meyer K.
        • Helmius G.
        • et al.
        Sex i Sverige.
        ([Sex in Sweden. On Swedish Sexual Life in 1996.] (In Swedish)) Folkhälsouniversitetet, Stockholm1998
        • Nusbaum M.R.
        • Gamble G.
        The prevalence and importance of sexual concerns among female military beneficiaries.
        Mil Med. 2001; 166: 208-210
        • American Psychiatric Association
        Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
        4th ed. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC1994
        • Glaser B.G.
        • Strauss A.L.
        The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research.
        Sociology Press, Mill Valley, CA1967
        • Patton M.Q.
        Qualitative evaluation and research methods.
        Newsbury Park, CA, Sage Publications, Inc1990
        • Glaser B.G.
        Theoretical Sensitivity: Advances in the Methodology of Grounded Theory.
        Sociology Press, Mill Valley, CA1978
      2. Schreiber R.S. Stern P.N. Using grounded theory in nursing. Springer Publishing Company, Inc, New York2001
        • Streubert H.J.
        • Carpenter D.R.
        Qualitative Research in Nursing.
        2nd ed. Lippincott, Philadelphia, PA1999
        • Denzin N.K.
        • Lincoln Y.S.
        Handbook of Qualitative Research.
        Sage Publications, Inc, Thousand Oaks, CA1994
        • Roberts C.
        • Kippax S.
        • Waldby C.
        • et al.
        Faking it: The story of “Ohh!”.
        Women's Stud Int Forum. 1995; 18: 523-532
        • Warr D.J.
        The importance of love and understanding: speculation on romance in safe sex health promotion.
        Women's Stud Int Forum. 2001; 24: 241-252
        • Berggren I.
        Identity, Gender and Class.
        Göteborg University, Acta universitatis Gothoburgensis, Göteborg, Sweden2001
        • Shaw J.
        Treatment of primary vaginismus: a new perspective.
        J Sex Marital Ther. 1994; 20: 46-55
        • Brown J.D.
        Mass media influences on sexuality.
        J Sex Res. 2002; 39: 42-45
        • Kalof L.
        The effects of gender and music video imagery on sexual attitudes.
        J Soc Psychol. 1999; 139: 378-385
        • Zillmann D.
        Influence of unrestrained access to erotica on adolescents' and young adults' dispositions toward sexuality.
        J Adolesc Health. 2000; 27: 41-44
        • Graziottin A.
        • Castoldi E.
        • Montorsi F.
        • et al.
        Vulvodynia: the challenge of “unexplained” genital pain.
        J Sex Marital Ther. 2001; 27: 503-512