3 reasons sex might hurt
16 March 2016, 18:15
Unless it’s your kink, penetrative sex should never hurt. If all you’re getting is pain when all you want is pleasure, it’s time to make some changes. Here are three of the most common problems that crop up around pain in the bedroom.
1. You need lube
Lubrication prepares your vagina for penetration and protects the delicate lining of the canal from tears and micro abrasions that can be caused by dry friction. Not only are these painful, they also leave you open to infection.
Also, condoms break more easily without lube. While the vagina is a naturally lubricating organ, there are many reasons you may not be ‘getting wet’, including hormone levels, stress, diet, health and medication, among many other possibilities.
What you can do: Use lube. Lots of it. Water-based lube is cheap and readily available, but because it’s so easily absorbed into the skin it doesn’t last for very long.
For a longer lasting solution, use a silicone-based lube.
2. He’s knocking against your cervix
The average vaginal canal is between 7 to 10 cm in length. But because of how its structured, it can expand up to 200%, lengthening and pulling up towards your uterus.
The canal ends in a sort of cul de sac at the cervix, which is the entrance to your uterus. If the cervix is bumped up against too hard it can feel very uncomfortable, even painful. But it’s important this pain shouldn’t be sharp or lingering.
What to do: This is likely to happen if you’re not aroused enough (so your vagina doesn’t expand), or you’re in a sex position that makes your cervix more vulnerable to thumping. If it’s the former, leave off penetrative sex with a penis for a bit and try some manual or oral sex. If it’s the latter, simply change to a position that feels better – and don’t feel shy to ask your guy to slow down or be gentler.
3. You’re suffering from vaginismus
This is the painful, involuntary spasm of the vaginal canal that prevents any penetration no matter how small the object. Even a tampon will be too much. Why it happens is still considered something of a mystery, but there are a wide range of manifestations, from impossible penetration, to intercourse with discomfort, pain or burning – all of which result from the pelvic spasm.
I spoke to sexologist Dr Elmari Mulder Craig about this and she says it’s not a case of psychosexual versus physical triggers, but rather a combination of these that make the body anticipate pain.
What you can do: ‘It is highly treatable, but success can only be achieved with a multi-professional treatment approach,’ Elmari told me. She says that a professional diagnosis, possibly including medication, dilation training and physiotherapy for the pelvic floor dysfunction are all part of the healing process. ‘Don’t try to do this by yourself. You need the support of a team and the help of a sexologist to assist you with the psychosexual and relationship problems.’
Need some more sex advice in your life? Check out:
10 sex myths that must go
What is maintenance sex and why is it a good thing?
10 things you should stop doing in bed
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