Dyspareunia, or painful sexual intercourse, is a common complaint among women.
The prevalence of dyspareunia varies widely depending on the population being sampled and how it is defined. Retrospective studies have cited a range from 1.5% to 70%.       A survey of women at primary care clinics reported that 46% of women had experienced painful intercourse,  whereas another survey of university alumni who had participated in a sexually transmitted infection study during college found a lifetime prevalence of 61%. 
Dyspareunia can be categorised as primary or secondary; as well as superficial or deep. 
Primary dyspareunia is characterised by pain associated with intercourse since the onset of sexual activity.
Secondary dyspareunia is acquired over a patient's sexual lifetime.
Painful intercourse that is localised to the introital area is characteristic of superficial dyspareunia, due to disorders of the vulva and vestibule.
Deep symptoms are often related to disorders in the pelvis.
Head of Department of Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine
University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf
KJB declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr Buhling would like to gratefully acknowledge Prof Ahrendt, Dr Suketu M. Mansuria and Dr Amy N. Broach, the previous contributors to this monograph. We have been notified that Prof Ahrendt is now deceased. SMM declares that he has no competing interests.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of British Columbia
LAB declares that she has no competing interests.
University of Pittsburgh
KEB declares that she has no competing interests.
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