I recently received the following inquiry about painful sex:
“Kait, if my new partner has a constantly tight vagina and is often sore after sex would [kegel] pods [or] Ben Wa balls…and [kegel] exercises aid in loosening ‘her’ up and preventing future soreness? x x x”
I figured it was time to revisit my series on painful sex. Without further ado, I present the most recent installment in my #FlashbackFriday series!
In life, you expect to have both positive and negative experiences. Ultimately, of course, both serve a purpose. The same sometimes can be said for sex; however, generally speaking you probably want to minimize the negative.
In fact, I believe sex is intended to be one of the most pleasurable experiences of our lives.
Sex should be fun and feel good, if not always amazing. But what about when that isn’t the case? For many female-bodied folks, sex doesn’t just not feel good – its downright painful. The catchall, medical word for this is dyspareunia. I say ‘catch-all’ because there are lots of reasons that painful sex occurs. Most, however, fall into one of two major categories: physical or psychological. Because this topic is huge and complex, I’ve broken it down for you. In this post I’m focusing on physical causes.
Physical Causes of Painful Sex
One common and easily treatable cause of painful sex is lack of proper lubrication. This can be the result of any number of things including dehydration, side effects of medication, lack of proper foreplay, and more. It’s why I spend so much time talking about the importance of good lube (aka nothing you can buy at Walmart/Target/CVS).
Other causes include:
Infections, inflammation, or a skin disorder including STIs, yeast infections, eczema, etc.
Injury trauma, or irritation. This can be from childbirth, vaginal radiation, an accident, etc.
Because the causes can come from a lot of things, there is no one solution. For example, female cancer survivors who have vaginal atrophy from receiving radiation often benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy and the use of dilators. However, there are a handful of tools you can use regardless of the cause.
Three Ways to Reclaim Pleasure + Reduce Painful Sex
Focus on water. Being hydrated is one way to support your body’s production of natural lubrication. So yes – drink your water (and other clear liquids)! Aim for 64 oz throughout the day + more if you work out or its super hot.
Engage in foreplay. While most women need 20-30 minutes of foreplay to be properly warmed up + ready for sex, we tend to only get 5-10 minutes. If you’re going solo, spend more time exploring what feels good. If you’re partnered, work with your partner to spend more time playing before penetration. Tell them how good x feels and ask them to continue. If they try to jump in too soon <–pun intended, take the lead and start going down on them. Get creative and have fun with it!
Get a good lube. OTC lubes like KY and Astroglide just aren’t designed to be used in the female body. For example, KY breaks down with friction. <–ruh roh! For a little more money you can treat yourself to something truly spectacular that is longer lasting, feels better, and is better for you. For specific ideas, check out this post. No matter which you choose, when you break up with crappy lubes you’ll experience heightened sensation, decreased irritation, and more pleasure.
As I said before, painful sex can be a complex issue that can be caused by lots of different things. These steps are some first steps to try. If you aren’t happy with the results, consider consulting your doctor.Painful sex is not something you have to live with.
Now its your turn. What is your best tip for taking back pleasure? Leave a comment below.