Have you started experiencing pain or discomfort when you’re having sex? Unless it’s your first time or you have a medical condition you’re aware of, sex shouldn’t hurt. If you’re experiencing any kind of discomfort during intercourse, you should get to your doctor, gynae or sexual healthcare clinic as soon as possible.
Here are seven things that could be causing painful sex.
1. You’re not sufficiently aroused
Arousal causes the release of vaginal fluids, which serve to keep things well lubricated down there. If you’re not sufficiently aroused prior to penetration, you may be in for a rough, uncomfortable ride. Indulge in plenty of foreplay before the main event, and make sure it’s the kind of play that actually turns you on! Don’t be shy to add additional lubrication.
2. Your body and your brain haven’t caught up
While you may be super turned on in your head, your body can take several minutes to catch up, physiologically speaking. This means your vagina may still be relatively dry even when you’re raring to go. Again, don’t be afraid to reach for the lube!
3. You and your partner need to find a better ‘fit’
If you’re particularly small, and/or your partner is fairly large, sex can be painful, especially if his penis is hitting your cervix or causing an inordinate amount of stretching. Try changing positions, going slower or asking your partner to be a little more gentle.
4. You have an infection
Yeast infections and STIs can cause a whole host of nasty side effects, including pain during sex. If you notice other side effects, like sores or warts, discharge or a bad smell, you could have an STI and you should get it checked out ASAP.
5. You have a medical condition
Endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions can cause painful sex. Talking to a professional about your symptoms is the key to accurate diagnosis and treatment, so don’t hesitate to consult your doctor. When it comes to any kind of medical condition, the earlier you get treated, the better.
6. You’re taking new medication
Certain types of medication can affect your sex drive and your state of arousal. The less aroused you are, the less prepared your body is for sex, which could lead to uncomfortable or even painful intercourse.
7. You’re experiencing an emotional or psychological barrier to sex
Stress, anxiety, depression, shame, embarrassment, awkwardness and fear can significantly impact your sexual experiences, especially if they’re related to the actual act of having sex. If you’re experiencing any of these feelings, they are likely to make it very hard to relax. The tenser you are, the less likely you are to be aroused, and the more uncomfortable sex will be. There’s no shame in speaking to a mental health professional about your fears, anxieties or concerns.
Read more: 5 ways to make sex less painful
Get help at Marie Stopes
Sex should be fun, exciting and enjoyable, and when it’s not, you owe it to yourself to get yourself checked out.