During an activity that commonly brings about pleasure and joy, painful sex can certainly put a damper on the mood. Painful sex can happen to anyone and there are many common culprits. Many can be treated without medical intervention and some are best addressed with your gynecologist.
Lack of Lubrication
This is probably the most common. When you become aroused, your body produces lubricant in your vagina. Sometimes this lubricant is not adequate enough for penetrative sex and without additional lubricant, tearing and pulling can lead to discomfort. Keep some lubricant handy bedside and apply liberally. And don’t worry, the amount of lubricant you naturally produce is not a reflection on how aroused you are.
Too Deep of Penetration
In certain positions or if your partner is very large, you can be experiencing discomfort from deep penetration. The force of a penis of object ramming against your cervix can cause intense pain. If this is the case, try positions that allow for more shallow penetration.
A yeast infection can make your vulva/vagina feel itchy, sore, and raw and the act of a penis or object penetrating you can exacerbate those symptoms.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID, can cause discomfort during penetration. This is caused from an untreated STD and causes your tissues to become inflamed and the pressure from the thrusting can cause deep pain.
Injured Vulva and/or Vagina
Childbirth can cause tearing in the vagina or you may have had an episiotomy. These injuries can cause pain during sex if not properly healed all the way. Try to avoid intercourse too quickly after child birth so not to prolong the healing process.
If using male condoms, you may have an allergy to latex. Also, there is the possibility that you are allergic to your partner’s ejaculate.
Vaginismus is a condition where there is involuntary spasming of the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle. This is the same muscle you are exercising while doing your kegels, but the woman has no control of the spasms. This can make penetration very difficult or not at all.
This is a short list of common causes for pain during sex. Communicate with your partner if something isn’t feeling right with you. It could be as simple as adding some extra lubrication. As always, practice safer sex and get tested if you think you may have and STD. Maintaining your sexual health is key in staying ahead of STDs and the subsequent problems they can cause. Seek out a medical professional if you think you have any of these conditions listed above that are not solved with some added lubricant. You may need to undergo testing to determine what is the underlying cause. In some cases, prescription medications or creams may be given to you for treatment of STDs or vaginal dryness. Also keep in mind that if you have just given birth, wait the allotted time that the doctor recommends before beginning to have penetrative sex again. And in some conditions like Vaginismus, psychological and physical therapies may advised to help calm the spasms.
You shouldn’t have to live in fear of painful sex. Chances are that you are not alone in your concern. Seek out help and get back to the sex you want to be having.
By Megan Stubbs
Follow on Twitter @SexologistMegan