Let’s Discuss Painful Sex

Journal Back to Archive09.9.20

Painful sex isn’t uncommon—according to statistics from the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians—nearly 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. While some slight pain or discomfort could just be a sex position, lack of lube or muscle soreness, regular, chronic pain during sex is not okay. 

A UK survey reported that nearly 1 in 10 women experience chronic painful sex, with women aged 16-24 reporting especially high occurences. And, a US Study found that 30% of women reported painful sex during their most recent sexual experience. Severe or frequent pain is not normal and is not something you should have to endure every time you have sex. 

Women often suffer alone, many of the women who reported having painful sex weren’t letting their doctors know out of embarrassment, and also were not talking to their partner. Some women involved in the survey reported feeling so afraid of pain, they avoided sex altogether.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain during sex, click here…

The fix for painful sex remains somewhat of a mystery, doctors and sex educators will often call it ‘Dyspareunia’, but that does not mean they know how to fix it. Painful sex can be caused by various physical and/or psychological reasons. Which we discuss below, but not being able to pinpoint the exact cause makes it very hard to fix, and also incredibly frustrating for the woman experiencing it regularly.

Dyspareunia is a persistent or recurrent pain that can happen during sexual intercourse.

The pain may be distinct and localized, or there may be a broader sense of discomfort in your vagina, abdomen, or lower area. 

List of Physical Reasons: Vaginal dryness. Vaginismus: Overactive pelvic floor muscles which contract involuntarily. Inflammation or infection. Endometriosis. Childbirth. PID. Uterine Prolapse. Menopause. PMS (Yes, this is included as if you have pain during sex every 28days, this is chronic). Vulvodynia: A chronic pain in the vulva, the area on the outside of a woman’s genitals. Clitrodynia is a form of vulvodynia in which the central source of pain is the clitoris. 

List of Psychological Reasons: Anxiety, fear, and depression can inhibit sexual arousal and contribute to vaginal dryness or vaginismus. Stress can trigger a tightening of the pelvic floor muscles, resulting in pain. The simple mental problem from chronic pain— they’re anticipating pain, and so reflexively clench their muscles to keep anything from coming in.

So, what can you do?

LUBRICATE

During sexual arousal, glands at the entrance of the vagina secrete fluids to aid intercourse. Too little fluid can lead to painful intercourse. Always use Lube, ALWAYS. You are not less than if you use it. 

USE A MELLO BOTTOM

These have been specially designed to decrease any pain experienced during sex. They help physically and mentally. Physically, they will decrease the pain and increase blood flow helping to relax your vagina. And mentally, they clear your mind of the anxiety of the expected pain. 

*Our Founder Boronia, experienced Vulvodynia for 8 years and created Mello Bottoms knowing the struggle. Read her story.

MASTURBATE

Regular masturbation exercises your pelvic floor muscles. Which can help vaginismus. It also allows you to get to know your body’s signs of pain. Sexual pain does not just occur with a partner, so get to know how it starts and where it is. Learn how you experience or move through it on your own. Know your limits and then use your voice with your partner(s). 

COMMUNICATE

Talk to your partner(s). Let them know how you are feeling and what you are feeling. Let them know when it hurts and where it hurts.

*We understand this can be tricky if you are only experiencing casual encounters. But set a boundary of the extent of the casual encounter. Maybe it’s only foreplay without penetration? Set your line of what you are comfortable doing. If it hurts stop.

SLOW DOWN

Don’t rush into vaginal or anal sex. Engage in longer foreplay to encourage the secretion of the body’s natural lubricants. Engage in more sensual activities that increase arousal such as using clitoral vibrators, nipple stimulation, longer make out sessions, and sensual massages and touch. Take the pressure off yourself to have any form of penetration. 

SWITCH UP YOUR POSITIONS

Choose alternative sexual positions to minimize deep pain. And take penetration off the menu for a minute. Remember mutual masturbation and vigorous over the clothes action. These are fun positions too. 

TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS

Women shouldn’t experience their shame and embarrassment alone. Talk to one person, share what you are going through. It will help, and you may find they have their own experience. You are not alone. This is common and happens to many women.