Painful sex will happen to three quarters of women at some point in their lives, even at any age. It can cause problems in a relationship both physically and mentally. Also, if you are in a new relationship and sex is a big part of your time together, painful sex can really hold you back.
Causes of sexual pain can differ, however predominantly it is pain in the pelvic area. Some of the most common causes can be:
– Limited muscle movement and control
– Postural problems
– Allergies or irritations
Tips for managing painful sex
Pelvic Floor Muscles
Strong Pelvic floor muscles can help with painful sex. Pelvic floor muscles also help you control your bladder and bowels. This muscle also helps you get enjoyment out of sex and ultimately have an orgasm.
Depending on your age, you can find that your pelvic floor weakens with time. This can be from childbirth or simply from not exercising the pelvic floor muscles enough. Ultimately this can lead to you not being able to orgasm easily or experiencing pain during sex.
We recommend starting to exercise your pelvic floor immediately! Even if you aren’t having any bladder or bowel problems, the more you exercise these muscles the better it will be later on in life. A simple exercise routine will only take 5 minutes and can be done anytime, anywhere.
How to exercise your pelvic floor properly:
- Think about when you are going for a wee, now think about having to stop that wee mid-flow! That is the pelvic floor muscle.
- Now, think about your back passage and when you are trying to stop passing wind. That is also the pelvic floor muscles.
- Combine these 2 moves together and think about trying to lift the muscles up.
- Hold this for 2 or 3 seconds, then release.
- Repeat this exercise until you can hold for the count of 8.
- Do this up to 8-10 times.
There are lots of devices on the market that can help with your pelvic floor, such as Kegel balls and Smart devices, for a selection have a look at the section Kegel Balls.
Sexual position tips for painful sex
To help alleviate pain during sex, you may need to experiment with your sexual positions. Some of the recommended positions to try are:
This is a great position if you are tired, but it also has its benefits in alleviating pain. Your bum gives you some cushioning so you can control the depth of penetration.
If you lean over further or lift a leg then deeper penetration can be gained, however, this also means you can ease off without too much of a scene for your partner. Spooning makes it easy to slow down if you start to feel pain.
Woman on top
Being on top means you can control how deeply your partner penetrates you, plus you gain stronger clitoral stimulation. Going on top can feel very powerful and your partner will love it. Try some different places rather than just the bed, maybe a chair, floor or even outside!
One great way to make sure you don’t get pain is by extending foreplay. Just because you don’t have intercourse doesn’t mean you or your partner can’t orgasm. Inserting 1 or 2 fingers can be a great way of you orgasming without having to have penetrative sex.
Discover each other’s weak spots, maybe try a 69! Oral sex can be incredibly satisfying and provide amazing clitoral orgasms. If you are on your own try the LELO Ora 3, this provides the most amazing oral sex!
Lubricants and Moisturisers
Sometimes the vagina doesn’t produce enough fluids and so the vaginal lining loses its normal moisture and becomes dry. This is generally hormone related, so you may find you experience this at certain points in your menstrual cycle.
In many cases where not enough lubrication is being produced naturally, it is helpful to use a vaginal moisturiser or lubricant. Lubricants are best used during sex to help provide extra lubrication; they can also add that extra bit of fun.
There is a large range of lubricants on the market, so be careful not to buy a scented or flavoured lubricant as these can actually irritate your skin and cause further dryness or pain. Always choose a skin-safe lubricant that is pH balanced to work with the body. The lubricant also needs to be glycerin, paraben and glycol free. We recommend YES water-based lubricant, or YES oil-based lubricants. YES OB is great for a wet and slippery feeling and can really help with friction pain.
If the vaginal dryness is a recurring issue, then moisturisers will help to hydrate the vaginal tissue. We recommend using YES VM applicators, as they are easy to use and less messy plus they are known not to cause any skin irritations. They contain a gel moisturiser so feels very natural. Initially use the applicators every day for approximately 5-7 days. This should help with any existing vulval conditions, then to keep the vaginal tissues hydrated continue use 2-3 times per week. This will really help with painful sex and keep the vagina healthy.
Please remember the vagina does not need to be cleaned, so do not use any soap or personal washes, these can irritate the skin and cause problems.
If you are still finding sex painful then a barrier method may really help lessen the friction pain. The OHNUT is a revolutionary design that acts as a buffer between you and your partners penis. This amazing product will really help you get your sex life back on track and alleviate the pain.
The Ohnut comes with 4 rings that are placed on your partners penis, enabling you to choose the depth of penetration. Designed by a woman who was experiencing painful sex herself and it really does make a different. It is an amazing design and has been medically certified and is 100% body-safe.
One review of the product said, “I couldn’t tell what was my skin and what wasn’t.” Ohnut is made with a soft squishy material and can stretch to accommodate all men and most toys. Ohnut often feels like an extension of your body, with a little hug.
Dilators are a great tool to help alleviate painful sex. The way a dilator works is by, over time, stretching the vaginal walls, which helps if you are new to sex or maybe your partner has a larger than average penis.
There are different sizes, ranging from the smallest being around half an inch up to an inch and a half for the largest. It is always best to use a lubricant when inserting anything into the vagina, so make sure you purchase a good quality one as discussed earlier.
Have a look at our hand-picked selection of dilators. Our favourite is the Inspire Silicone Vibrating Dilator Set which includes a small vibrator turning the dilators into a pleasurable experience! They are also suitable if you are recovering from surgery, which may be a reason you are finding sex painful.
If, you are unsure about using any of the methods above or find that your pelvic pain is troubling you then we would always recommend consulting your GP. If you have a male GP then you can ask to see a female doctor, should this make you feel more comfortable.
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