You're not alone ... and it doesn't have to be forever.
Did you know that 1 in 10 women report feeling terrible pain during sex?
My mind was boggled when I read that number.
Boggled, I say!
You'd think if that many women were in pain during sex it's something we'd talk about all of the time.
Instead, women's sex drives and sex lives are still such a taboo that many women who experience pain during sex (medically known as dyspareunia) never say a word about it.
Can you imagine a world where 1 in 10 MEN felt pain during sex?
They would literally run through the streets setting things on fire and bemoaning the tragedy that their lives have become.
Like, I do not even think that is very much of an exaggeration.
And this IS a serious issue.
Not just because sex is great and fun and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it.
But also because of the very real emotional toll that painful sex can take on a marriage or relationship.
If you are one of the women who experiences pain during sex, please know that you aren't alone, and you aren't some sort of anomaly.
Here are some of the common causes of pain during sex, and all of them are treatable if you work with your doctor.
1. A prolapsed vagina or prolapsed uterus can make sex hurt.
A prolapsed vagina or uterus are caused when the muscles supporting either the vagina or the uterus become weakened and can no longer do their job of holding that shit up.
One of the most common causes for this is pregnancy and childbirth.
Another cause is the hormonal shifts that can happen during menopause.
Having less estrogen in your system means that your vaginal muscles weaken which can lead to prolapse.
For some prolapse sufferers, surgery is an option.
For others, non-surgical measures, like exercise, can actually help strengthen the muscles.
Get to those elevator kegels, ladies!
2. An irritated cervix makes sex hurt during deep penetration.
Your cervix, fun fact, is shaped like a delicious donut.
A delicious, delicious donut that can experience irritation due to STDs and/or sexual trauma. Even if that is just from rough (but fun) sex.
If he bumps your cervix too hard during sex, or if you have an STD, your cervix may become irritated.
This can lead to serious pain during sex.
If it's trauma based, a little rest and time away from the penis that's done the crime should help.
If it's an STD, talk to your doctor about the right sort of drug to treat it.
If your cervix seems to just be sensitive, tell your doctor. They may be able to help.
Also try shallow-penetration sex positions and see if that helps!
3. An allergy to your toilet paper or menstrual products can make EVERYTHING hurt, including sex!
This is one sneaky and terrible culprit!
If you have an allergy to your toilet paper or menstrual pads or tampons, it can leave your vagina feeling irritated as hell, which can make sex (and stuff like, you know, walking) painful as all get out!
If you suspect your toilet paper or period products are to blame go for all natural, non-bleached paper products.
That should help a butt-load.
Or a vagina-load, whichever you prefer.
4. Lack of lubrication during sex.
For many women, lack of lubrication during sex can make for painful intercourse.
If you're like me, this can mean sex starts out as "good" painful and then ends with you waddling around your home pantless and bemoaning your outcast state.
Some women, even those who are properly aroused, can have a hard time producing enough natural lubrication.
Vaginal dryness is a common side effect of many prescription medications, heck, even just decongestants can cause it!
Keeping hydrated and using a lot of lube can help ease the pain of sex caused by vaginal dryness.
There is no such thing as too much lube.
Make that noise (and by that, I mean your vulva) a slip n' slide, baby!
5. Lack of foreplay before sex.
For some women producing their own lubrication isn't a problem, provided that they are properly stimulated prior to sex.
You know what I mean, some good old fashioned foreplay, y'all!
We're all guilty of jumping the gun and heading for the main event too quickly (I'm talking about putting a penis in that vagina).
You can be horny but not ready for penetration which cause some pain during intercourse.
Not only will it get you wetter for sex, but it can lead to some pretty hot orgasms too.
If it's too much excitement for him, don't forget to take breaks.
Sex is hard (if rewarding) work!
6. Too much stress in your life can cause serious sex problems.
Let's face it, we all live pretty stressful lives.
There's work, there are kids, there are our friends, there's the never-ending MOUNTAIN of chores to be vanquished.
Feeling stressed out and overwhelmed can leave a person feeling 100% tense, tight and not ready for sex.
Which can, in turn, lead to very unpleasant and painful stress.
There's a good fix for this and that fix is couples back rubs.
Prioritize decompressing your stress levels before sex and you'll be yelling "OUCH" again but in a very, very, good way!
7. The size of your vagina can make sex hurt.
I want to get this tattooed on my forehead:
Not all vaginas are created equal.
I mean, every single one is worth its weight in gold, but what makes them so special is the fact that they are all so very different!
Some women with smaller vaginal openings might find sex (especially with a well-endowed partner) pretty painful.
I WOULD KILL FOR THESE PROBLEMS.
Anyhoo, fret not, it's fixable.
Make sure you're fully aroused, really wet (naturally, or with the help of lube) and go slowly.
Remove his penis from the equation and have him begin just with fingering you the first few times you guys hook up.
Rushing and forcing are two gerunds that should not appear when it comes to helping a woman with a smaller vaginal opening overcome her painful experiences during sex.
8. PID, IBS, or infections can cause sex to be painful, too.
Very often unsexy things like PID, IBS or STDs can lead to pain during sex.
This pain is your body's way of waving a red flag.
If you suffer from PID or IBS, talk to your doctor about what kind of changes you can make in order to have sex that is much less painful.
If you suspect an STD is playing a role in your pain during sex, get tested. Once you have a diagnosis your doctor can help you with treatment.
Fear and shame can keep women from talking to their doctors.
This isn't just dangerous, it's damaging your sex life.
Having a chronic medical condition does not mean you need to live your life without the joys of sex.
9. Menopause. Yes, menopause.
At this point, you've probably heard that during menopause vaginal dryness can become an issue for women going through this oh so glorious change of life.
But that's not the only culprit that could be causing pain during sex for menopausal women.
Often during menopause parts of the vagina and vulva can become MORE sensitive, which can make your previous sexual practices feel painful where they were not before.
Switch up your sex positions, slow down your pace, and use more lube!
10. A medical condition called Vaginismus makes sex super painful, or even impossible.
Vaginismus is a frustrating condition wherein an involuntary muscle spasm in your vagina makes it exceptionally painful and often impossible to do things like use tampons, menstrual cups, or to have sex.
Psychological and physical treatments are available for people with vaginismus.
Some of them feel intense fear about having sex due to traumatic experiences or feel shame about sex due to their upbringing.
But isn't just in their heads at all.
Doctors help women with vaginismus advising them to do regular kegel exercises, experiment with well-lubed smaller vibrators, and in some cases Botox has been proven to be effective in relaxing the muscles of the vagina enough to make for less ouch-riddled sex.