I have a lot of experience of working with painful intercourse presented by individual men and women as well as in couples. Women and men can experience pain through insufficient lubrication during sex and advice using lubricants may be helpful as part of foreplay.
In men pain during sex can manifest where the foreskin is tight and cannot retract or be pulled back sufficiently. A significant number of men endure this condition before it comes to light in an intimate relationship. It can take some time to improve sexual confidence and performance and psychosexual therapy can be useful in this instance.
The most common presentation is what was called Vaginismus but now comes under the term Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/Penetration Disorder. I see women as individuals and as part of a couple relationship and have successfully treated some women with lifelong Genito-Pelvic Pain Disorder/Penetration Disorder to be able to enjoy intercourse and go through childbirth.
There can also be physical pain as well as an anxious/avoidant psychological response to penetration, sexual intimacy with another and sexual intimacy with ones self. Its important to identify how to treat and help cases where responses to cultural influences, early sexual abuse and similar trauma is affecting the adult’s approach to sex and relationships.
With the right support and practical guidance, Penetration Disorder is treated extremely successfully. I encourage spouses/partners to get on-board with this support and whilst the focus is on the woman’s Penetration Disorder, it is often a couples issue to get through with a guided plan towards consummation if that is the goal.