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Should Sex Hurt? A Guide to Avoiding Vaginal Pain

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Should Sex Hurt? A Guide to Avoiding Vaginal Pain

Feeling pain during vaginal sex or when it’s done is common. There are many reasons sex can hurt, but know that it usually goes away on its own and there’s lots you can do to avoid it next time.

A lot of people say that sex always hurts, or that the first time always will. But for many people, it doesn’t have to! Pain can be your body’s way of saying something’s wrong, and it can help to stop or slow down if there’s any pain. You can always switch to something that feels good!

What are some reasons vaginal sex can hurt?

A common cause for painful intercourse is too little lubrication. This is especially for people who’ve just started having sex. The vagina usually produces its own fluid when the person is turned on. This fluid makes penetration easier. However, someone’s vagina might not get wet enough for vaginal sex. This dryness causes friction, which can create small tears in the vagina that can hurt or bleed.

If someone is stressed or worried, it can cause the muscles around the vagina to tighten up, which can also lead to painful sex. Doing more foreplay, adding lube, going slow, and talking through how you want sex to go can reduce your risk.

There are also other possible reasons for painful sex:

  • Infections, like thrush or an STI
  • Vaginismus, a condition where vaginal muscles spasm uncontrollably
  • An allergy to latex condoms, spermicide, or other things you might use during sex
  • The penis or dildo hitting the cervix (the entrance to the uterus, at the top of the vagina)

If it doesn’t only come during or after sex, pain that’s deep inside the vagina might also be caused by other problems like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or digestion issues. Many of these problems can be treated or managed with help from doctor.

What do I do if sex is painful?

If sex is painful from friction, it helps to get your vagina wetter!

You can try more foreplay before penetration. Foreplay can involve kissing, touching each other, oral sex, masturbation, mutual masturbation, or anything else that makes you feel good. This helps you get more aroused, which means your vagina will get wetter.

It can also help to use lube (lubricant) specially made for sex. This is a liquid or gel that you can spread on the penis or dildo to make it more slippery, which reduces friction. You can buy lube at any drugstore, or get them for free at sexual health organizations like Head and Hands or ACCM.

It can also help to go slow. Foreplay can help you and your muscles relax. Starting with fingers before putting a penis or dildo in can also help. You may also want to try lowering yourself onto a penis or dildo, letting you control how fast you go and stop if there’s any pain.

Know that sex doesn’t need to hurt, and if it does, you can slow down, stop, or do something else. If you don’t want to have vaginal sex because of pain (or any other reason!) you can stick to doing the things that you do like, whether that’s oral sex, making out, dry humping, or other sex acts.

If you’re worried about your vaginal pain and this doesn’t help, you can think about talking to a doctor or nurse that you can trust. They can look into any other causes, like vaginismus and endometriosis.

More info

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