Too tight for sex
I haven't been able to have sex with my boyfriend because it hurts too much. Because it hurts I get really worried and this makes it even worse. I have seen a gynaecologist and they said everything was ok. But the pain and unbearable pressure is the same even when I'm really turned on or use feminine lubricants, desensitizing lotion, warm baths and alcohol. Initially, I thought the pain was caused by the penis pushing against the hymen, but after trying anal penetration with a condom and lotion, very similar pain and pressure occurred. What can I do?
We are sorry to hear that you have been having such problems with penetration, and can appreciate that this is frustrating and upsetting for you.
Women, just like men, can experience sexual problems, and there are specialist agencies and services that can help. Some problems are psychological, and others have a physical basis, so it is important to get help in finding out what is the cause of problems.
- A lack of arousal which can cause pain and discomfort due to a failure of the womb to lift up and the walls of the vagina to swell and open to accommodate the penis;
- Superficial pain is often associated with thrush (a common vaginal infection), genital herpes, vestibulitis (an acute inflammatory condition) or muscle spasm as in vaginismus.
The amount of pain someone experiences can range from mild discomfort to severe, preventing further penetrative sex. It can also be felt as a burning sensation, sharp, dull or intense pain during or after intercourse. Pain or bleeding on or after intercourse should always be discussed with a doctor and treatment will vary from a change of position during lovemaking, use of lubricants, drug therapy or further investigation according to the cause of the problem.
Often when sex is painful, a vicious cycle sets in and women avoid sex altogether. Once pain has been resolved the mental association between sex and pain will often need to be dealt with too. Talking about the problem as a couple and reading self-help books can be useful. In more difficult cases the problem may be dealt with by treatment with sex therapy.
Past sexually traumatic experiences may also contribute to the involuntary muscle spasm of the vaginal wall.
There is often concern amongst women about the vagina being too tight but this is most unlikely. Thanks to the accordion-style folds of skin in its walls, any woman's vagina can accommodate any size penis, no matter how large. Vaginas can also accommodate a baby of any size during childbirth. Vaginal size has not been found to be a cause of painful intercourse.
It is important that you get the help you need, as you don't have to put up with repeated painful intercourse or less satisfactory intercourse for you or your partner.
You can visit your local Brook Centre and have a chat with a counsellor there. Under 25s can talk to someone, in confidence, about anything to do with sex and relationships. Family Planning Clinics may also offer a vaginal examination by a female doctor or nurse, as well as counselling at some services. Alternatively if you'd like to discuss the problem over the phone, you can call the Brook Helpline on 0800 0185 023. The SDA is also available on 0870 7743 571.
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook