Health And Wellness, Sex

What To Do When Your Girlfriend Complains About Pain During Sex

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How To Reduce Your Girlfriend's Pain During Sex By Mastering The Art Of Foreplay

Does your girlfriend often complain about feeling pain during sex? If so, she's not alone. Up to 75 percent of all women have experienced some form of pain while having sex and, often, it's the result of not enough foreplay.

In an article in the New York Times by gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, she goes into detail about some of the possible causes of painful sexual activity and potential solutions for your sex life — including the role of foreplay.

Foreplay can reduce sexual pain by helping a woman's body become ready for sex, as well as increasing her sexual arousal, which creates a more conducive environment for healing that can ultimately lead to better and more pleasurable sex.

RELATED: Why You Should Never Ignore Painful Sex

Dr. Gunter says, "While foreplay alone rarely cures painful sex, most people actually want more than they are getting, so doubling up on foreplay is good sex hygiene, and, most important, it is fun."

Most people think of foreplay as deep kissing, heavy petting, rubbing each other’s genitals, breast play, and anything else up to but not including penetration.

Technically, foreplay is any erotic stimulation that occurs prior to intercourse. It’s actually quite heteronormative — meaning, it doesn't take into account the different types of sexual activity that non-heterosexual people engage in.

Society’s emphasis on penis-in-vagina sex implies everything else is considered "less than" or before the main act.

Here’s the thing, though: Almost all of what is considered foreplay is actually sexual activity.

Sex isn't just penetrative intercourse. Sex includes fondling, caressing, nipple play, manual stimulation, mutual masturbation, fellatio, cunnilingus, and so much more.

Foreplay is undervalued and often neglected. Typically, heterosexual men are overeager to get to the penetration part of sex, because their physiology causes their bodies to be ready for sex much more rapidly than a woman’s body.

It takes up to 45 minutes of erotic stimulation for a woman’s body to be ready to receive penetration. Thus, penetrating too can result in discomfort or pain, which can make a woman unable to orgasm. They can also feel more pain during deeper intercourse.

A woman’s tissues change during the arousal phase to allow her genitals to engorge and release natural lubrication in order for her to receive penetration with pleasure. If her body is not given sufficient time to prepare for that activity, then pain and sometimes even damage to the vaginal tissues can occur.

Extended foreplay allows the woman’s body to undergo the necessary transformation required to accept pleasurable penetration.

RELATED: Yes, Foreplay Can Be Much Hotter Than Sex — And Here's Why

So, if you want your partner to enjoy sex and not dread it, take your time!

Educate yourself about her anatomy and what she likes. What turns her on? What feels good? What does she like? Ask her! Make sure you take enough time during foreplay for her to be so turned on that she’s eager for penetration.

However, foreplay does not cure all sexual pain, so be sure to continue to check in with your partner and seek additional help if the pain continues — even with sufficient foreplay.

A gynecologist can assess for medical issues and provide exercises that may help and, in some cases, they can determine if there is a more serious issue that should be addressed.

A sex therapist can help you determine if the issue is more psychological in nature than physical and will work with you to treat that underlying issue without shame or blame.

No matter what, more foreplay usually means a better sexual experience and improved sex life, whether penetration occurs or not.

So have fun — and have more foreplay!

RELATED: 5 Types Of Foreplay That Really Turn Women On (Guys, Take Notes!)

Dr. Tammy Nelson is a sex and relationship expert, author and international speaker, and a licensed psychotherapist. Set up an Intensive or an online session by going to her website for more info.