When Sex Hurts, It's Not "All In Your Head"


Real talk from Meagan, who thought her sex life was over at age 23.

By Meagan McCrary

Sex is a topic that most of us can't help talking about. It’s not the guys who share intimate details of their latest conquest with their buddies — it’s the ladies. Most women love to gab about their sexcapades. And when we do, we typically don’t hold anything back.

That said, when all you hear about is the crazy, mind-blowing sex being had (or at least claiming to be had) by your girlfriends, you might start to think there’s something wrong with you, and your lady parts, when you’re not experiencing the same cosmic pleasures between the sheets. Not being able to have a G-spot orgasm — which can remain illusive to even the most seasoned sextrist — is one thing, experiencing pain with intercourse brings on a entirely new level of insecurity, often accompanied by shame.

I know, because at twenty-three I was convinced my sex life was over. Not that it was terribly exciting to begin with. I had slept with two guys, couldn’t tell you if I’d had an orgasm (which means probably not), and suddenly sex became so painful that the mere thought of male penetration made knots out of my Fallopian tubes. Worse, my gynecologist kept insisting that everything was normal. So when they guy I was sleeping with told me that it was all in my head, I didn’t have the confidence to tell him otherwise.

I just kept having sex. Excruciatingly painful sex that I derived no pleasure from whatsoever of my own. Not only did the act of having sex hurt, there was a nauseating lump of shame growing in my gut. There’s something that feels dirty about having sex with a guy who could care less about your physical comfort (or discomfort for that matter).

Eventually I stopped having sex altogether. For a period of about two years I couldn’t even think about having sex without having a complete meltdown. It wasn’t until my mom mentioned something to her yoga teacher, who recommended a specialist, did I learn that I had a legitimate medical condition called vulvodynia. I received the appropriate treatment, and with a little maintenance from time to time, I’m now able to enjoy all of those magical pleasures my girlfriends shared so candidly in college.

I do, however, still experience pain with sex from time to time — especially when I’m engaging with a partner who isn’t particularly healthy for me, in the emotional sense. I’ve now been told three different times by men that my pain is just "in my head." But now I recognize their “diagnosis” for what it is: a selfish ploy to convince me to still have sex with them.

In my dating guide The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags Red-Flag Rule #21 states: A guy should never say, “It’s all in your head,” when you tell him that you need to stop during sex because it hurts.

Bottom Line: The man you are choosing to share your body with should be concerned for your comfort, and he most definitely should be interested in your pleasure. Whether he’s too aggressive, disrespectful or coerces you into doing things you don’t want to do, he has forgotten one thing: having sex with you is a privilege.

Respect your body and listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to stop what you’re doing and take care of yourself and your body. There’s nothing wrong with you if sex hurts, and it’s most definitely not in your head. In fact, it’s probably your body trying to tell you something.

For more relationships and dating advice, pick up your copy of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags, available now wherever books are sold.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.