7 Reasons For Vaginal Pain During Sex — And How To Fix Them

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Are you finding sex difficult due to vaginal pain?

Are you finding sex difficult due to vaginal pain? Many women experience pain during sex and aren’t sure what to do about it or whom to ask for assistance.

Female sexuality is barely paid any mind and it is highly stigmatized. The idea that women can experience sexual pleasure is something we’ve long ignored, or known nothing about. It is shrouded in mystery, leaving those who maybe suffering without a way to cope.

If you’re experiencing pain during sex, you may not want to talk about it for fear of being shamed or scrutinized. It’s OK. You’re not broken. You’re not alone.

 

 

Pain during sex is a normal occurrence that tons of women experience. The female anatomy is complicated, and when it isn’t talked about in public, it's hard to find workable solutions.

Getting to know your body, understanding when something is wrong, and seeking help is hard. Here are a few types of vaginal pain and the main reasons you may be experiencing it during sex, as well as some ideas on how to fix it. We’re here for you.

1. Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common problem women experience. If you have pain and bleeding during sex, it might be due to the lack of lubrication. When the vagina is dried out, sex will be uncomfortable. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are a few ways to help with this, things you can try every time you have sex.

What you can do: Try to concentrate on foreplay. Sometimes we get so ahead of ourselves and excited for intercourse that we forget to make sure we’re properly lubricated and ready for insertion. You can’t just stick something into a vagina, regardless of what mainstream movies lead you to believe.

Improper lubrication can cause minor tearing in the vaginal tissue. If you’re bleeding after sex, this tearing is likely the culprit.


RELATED: 7 Ways To Give Your Vagina Some MAJOR Well-Deserved TLC


Always use lube. The vagina self-lubricates, but it isn’t enough for the vast majority of women. Don’t skip on lube during sex. It helps add a protective barrier against tearing and pain. We like Sustain Natural and Good Clean Love.

Don’t choose a lube that contains glycerine or petrochemicals, as they can throw off the PH balance of the vagina, leading to BV and yeast infections.

2. Sensitive cervix

The cervix is the barrier between the vaginal canal and the uterus. When you insert a penis or toy into the vagina, you can feel the cervix at the top. For some women, having deep penetrative or rough sex can cause bleeding and discomfort in the cervix.

This is a relatively common issue and is likely not due to anything serious. Some women simply have softer cervixes than others.

That being said, there is a possibility for underlying cervical issues. If you’re worried about your condition and want to know for certain that it isn’t Bacterial Vaginosis or cervical inflammation, make an appointment with your OB/GYN to get checked out. It’s always better to be sure.

What you can do: If you have a sensitive cervix, rough sex may not be the way to go. If having something bang against the cervix isn’t pleasurable for you, pick alternative sexual scenarios. Choose positions that offer shallower penetration. Our go-to is the classic spoon.

Another trick is to slow sex down. Deep penetration might be easier for you if you have your partner slow down their thrusting. Instead of rapidly pumping against the cervix, opt for more gentle, measured movements.

3. Female Sexual Dysfunction

FSD is still a hotly debated subject among many experts. It is defined as a lack of sexual desire or sexual pleasure. Proponents say it affects 40 percent of the female population.

The condition is defined by the displeasure accompanied with a lack of sexual desire. Opponents posit that this condition is just a marketing ploy to sell women libido boosting products.

The fact is, vaginal pain can occur due to a lowered libido and desire. Whether or not it is a medical condition doesn’t take away from the need for solutions.


RELATED: 10 Men Share Their Unfiltered Thoughts On The Taste Of Your Vagina


What you can do: There is no designated cure for FSD, but if you are experiencing pain, a lack of orgasm, and lowered libido, it may be time to seek professional help. Your treatment course will be decided by your physician. Contact a sex therapist or your OB/GYN and discuss treatment options.

4. Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a psychological condition that causes intense pain in the vulva. Pain can vary from clustered, pinpointed areas to widespread pain over the vulva. Some women find it unbearable to have sex. The pain is often described as burning or knife-like.

Its causes are unknown, but this condition affects one in six women. Vulvodynia is sometimes permanent, but it varies from woman to woman.

What you can do: There are a wide range of treatment options for vulvodynia. Your medical professional will determine the best course of treatment tailored to your needs. Some options include antidepressants and physical therapy.

5. Vaginismus

Vaginismus is a condition wherein the vaginal opening closes, making intercourse and even tampon insertion excruciating, if not altogether impossible. In extreme cases, the vaginal opening closes tightly and nothing can enter the vagina at all.

It is believed to be caused by psychological factors such as, but not limited to, past trauma. The symptoms and severity of pain vary from person to person. Experts encourage immediate treatment as the symptoms are likely to worsen without medical attention.

What you can do: In general, vaginismus is a curable condition. Your primary care physician or therapist may choose to combine a series of physical and emotional treatment options such as physical therapy and medication.

6. Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis is a bacterial infection that many a vagina owner has to deal with at some point in her life. The vagina's delicate eco-system requires a lot of care, airing out, and personal education. Sometimes, there are issues that just can't be helped. 

What you can do: If you're noticing burning and/or a fishy smell during sex (or at all) you may have Bacterial Vaginosis. It can cured with a simple round of antibiotics, so head over to your OB/GYN and get a test.

Keep in mind that not all insurance covers a test for BV, so check with your healthcare provider beforehand. You can get an infection test at a free clinic or your local pharmacy (you can buy them off the shelves). If it is an infection, you do need antibiotics to kill it, so go to your doctor.

7. Yeast infection

Itching during sex and essentially all the time? Are you noticing strange discharge? You might have a yeast infection. Yeast infections are caused when the pH in your vagina is thrown off, causing an overgrowth of yeast. Most women will get a yeast infection at some point in their lives.

What you can do: While quite unpleasant, yeast infections are easily cured. You can get anti-fungal medications (such as Monistat, three-day treatment) at your local pharmacy.


RELATED: 11 Things You Should Never EVER Put Inside Your Vagina


Gigi Engle is a writer and sex educator. Her work has appeared in Cosmo, Marie Claire, Glamour and many other places. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @GigiEngle.

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