It’s estimated that as many as 20% of women will experience painful sex at some point in her life, so there’s a fair chance it could happen to you.
If it has, and you’ve had it checked out to make sure it’s nothing serious (like endometriosis), you’ll be relieved to know that there are things you can do to make sex more ‘ahhhh’ and less ‘owww’.
Less pain, more pleasure in five easy step
1.Load up on lube
Vaginal dryness is a chief cause of painful sex and it can be addressed almost effortlessly: simply apply a good dollop of water-based lubricant when foreplay starts. Reapply as needed throughout your sexy sesh. Not only does extra lube help to eradicate pain, but it could up your satisfaction too. Bonus!
2.Check your symptoms
Are you itchy and irritated down there? You could have a yeast infection, also known as thrush. Thrush can cause a pungent odour, itchy or frequent discharge, a white-ish, cottage cheese-looking discharge, and/or painful sex among other symptoms. If you suspect you may have a yeast infection, give sex a break for a few days and head to your doctor, clinic or pharmacist as soon as possible for treatment. There are many over-the-counter treatments available.
3.Take it slow(er)
Everyone loves a quickie, but if sex is causing you more yelps than moans, you may need to slow it down a notch. The vagina needs time to expand once you’re aroused, and this can take up to 20 minutes. And while lube can help make things easier, it’s not a replacement for a proper warm-up session, so take your time and enjoy the ride.
4.New mom? Wait a bit (more)
If you’ve recently given birth, and particularly if you’re breastfeeding, your vaginal canal may be far drier and more sensitive than usual. Some doctors say you’ll be ready for sex as soon as six weeks after birth, but this is just a guideline, and it’s different for everyone. Take your time and build up to it, even if it takes a few months. And of course, refer to point number 1: use lots (and lots) of lube.
5.Chat to your doctor
Does it feel like your vagina clamps up the moment your partner tries to enter? You may be suffering from vaginismus, a condition that causes the muscles at the opening of your vagina to spasm, making sex virtually impossible. If this is the culprit, your doctor will be able to help you overcome it, possibly by prescribing pelvic-floor physical therapy or even botox treatments. You can also do stretching exercises that start with you slowly inserting a finger or tampon into your vagina, and eventually working your way up to sex.
Concerned about your symptoms? We can help
Marie Stopes offers complete women’s wellness check-ups that can help you identify the cause of painful sex. We can also check for any infections, and help you ensure you’re in optimal health with a quick pap smear.
Did you know that certain STIs may also cause painful sex? At Marie Stopes, we offer full STI and HIV screening in a safe and confidential environment.