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What If There's Pain during Sex?

Home » Ask Yvonne » Yvonne's Articles » What If There's Pain during Sex?

Not Enough Foreplay

When a woman becomes aroused, the upper two-thirds of her vagina dramatically expand. During this “ballooning” response, her cervix and uterus pull up, causing the vagina to elongate and allowing for deeper, more comfortable penetration to take place. The elongation of the vagina is largely dependent upon a gal’s level of sexual excitement, which is often dependent upon how much foreplay has taken place. So if her engine isn’t being fired up properly, her uterus is not being raised. Even worse, she may not be lubricated enough, especially if she’s not sexually aroused at the moment her partner penetrates her.

The pain she’s experiencing is likely due to the fact that the penis (or sex toy or long finger) is coming into contact with her cervix during penetration, giving her about as much pleasure as a root canal sans Novocain. (Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but men need something to relate to). If “wham, bam, thank-you ma’am” describes your approach to intercourse more than anything, then there is no question that you need more foreplay – and lots of it. Give yourselves time to get warmed up and enjoy the entire sexual experience!

   Lubricants or Feminine Hygiene Products

Whether it’s lube, douche, freshening cloths, perfume, sprays, etc., a woman’s pain could be a reaction to products she’s using “down there.” Feminine hygiene products that seek to cover up one’s natural scent can end up wreaking havoc on Mother Nature’s finely tuned below-the-belt balancing act. (Nobody should smell so bad down there that she needs all of these foreign products on her body – and if things are funky down there, then she needs to see a health professional, as there’s something more going on. Period.)

So cease use if you suspect a feminine product or lube of choice is the cause. Experiment with other lubricants, check out brands that have elements removed from it, like glycerin, parabens, alcohol, etc. like Astroglide’s Natural or Sensitive Skin Gel. 

   Contraceptive Products

This is a pretty easy one for a couple to trouble-shoot. Make sure that you’re using your form(s) of birth control correctly, and that they’re not causing you discomfort.


Tight clothing, like jeans or thongs, as well as fabrics, detergents can irritate the vulval area, making a gal sore when it comes to sex. So ease up on the use of skinny jeans, giving your groin a chance to breath. Limit g-strings and other “barely there” style panties to special occasions, as the use of such actually has the unsexy side effect of introducing bacteria from the anal region to the vaginal opening. This can cause a yeast or other infection that can ultimately result in painful sex when untreated.

   Medical Issues

If after changing all of the potential issues of feminine products, contraceptives, and clothing and there is still pain during sex, then the woman should be thoroughly examined by her healthcare provider, who can rule out medical problems that could be the cause, like fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disorder, endometriosis, reproductive tract disorders, or infections. This is also a great opportunity for some personal guidance on any of the aforementioned reasons for painful sex, as well as exploration of ones not mentioned. A physician can also assess whether or not a sex therapist referral is in order, as pain may also be due to emotional/mental/psychological issues that need to be sorted through.

No matter what the cause of painful sex, every woman needs to be her own advocate in the bedroom and in her self-care. Only you can look after you and make sure that all of your needs and issues are being addressed. 

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