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Male dyspareunia

Mathew Oommen, MD
Wayne JG Hellstrom, MD
Section Editor
Michael P O'Leary, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Dyspareunia is pain associated with sexual intercourse. This term is most often used in connection with female sexual dysfunction. However, a small subset of the male population also suffers from dyspareunia. Male dyspareunia has been subject to significantly less research compared to its female counterpart.

Male dyspareunia is a major life issue for afflicted patients and their partners. The clinician must realize the uncomfortable and often embarrassing nature of this condition. A detailed history and physical examination will lead to proper diagnosis and management.

Most studies available on male dyspareunia are small case reports. Few long-term, statistically-significant studies have been published, with the majority of reports focusing on specific associated conditions such as chronic prostatitis or Peyronie's disease. As our understanding of the pathophysiology of male dyspareunia evolves, we anticipate newer diagnostic and treatment methods to become available.

This topic will focus on the epidemiology, etiology, classification, diagnosis, and potential therapies for male dyspareunia that are not associated with inflammatory conditions (eg, non-gonococcal urethritis, urinary tract infections, prostatitis, etc). Dyspareunia in women is discussed separately, as is chronic pelvic pain and a general overview of male sexual dysfunction. (See "Approach to the woman with sexual pain" and "Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome" and "Overview of male sexual dysfunction".)


Due to the social stigma associated with male sexual disorders, underreporting of symptoms is common. It is not known whether the low reported incidence of dyspareunia in males represents a lack of disclosure or reflects the true infrequency of this condition. An increase in open discussion regarding sexuality among men in recent years has resulted in a larger number of men discussing dyspareunia with their primary care clinician. While the exact prevalence of this condition is uncertain, approximately one percent of male patients reported dyspareunia in an older study [1,2]. A 2008 study sampling over 4000 men in Australia, suggested that 5 percent of men suffer from pain associated with sexual intercourse [3].


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Dec 8, 2014.
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