I'm trying to establish at what point I should become concerned that sex is still painful. I know it's very normal for the first time to be painful, but should I expect this to continue for awhile?

I've had sex a handful of times (about 10 times), all with the same guy. The first few times were within a few months, then there were a couple of times a few months later; then we broke up, and about a year later rekindled our romance, and have since had sex a few more times. He's quite well-endowed and I'm quite small. We always use condoms and take it slowly, and on our last go we used (lots of) lube, which barely helped. It's almost as painful now as it was the very first time. It feels like he just does not fit, which I know can't be right, because if a baby's head can fit then a penis should be able to no problem.

He always says I'm tense and tells me to relax my legs. I'm like, "They are relaxed" and he's like, "No, they're not." Is it possible that I'm locking my muscles and I'm not even aware of it? Am I now at the stage where I should consult my doctor, or should I 'practise', so to speak, more at home, more consistently with fewer gaps in between?

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26 Responses to Painful sex

  1. Sseyle says:

    Definitely possible that you are tensing your legs without knowing it. Or tensing your vaginal muscles.

    Have you had experience with penetration in other ways (by yourself, for example?) I would explore that a bit, and see if it is comfortable, and if you can work towards relaxing in a solo experience. Knowing what it feels like to be relaxed during penetration might help you check whether you ARE relaxed or not.

  2. Sseyle says:

    I will also say that there is a point at which a penis was wide enough that it would take LOTS of practice for me to comfortably accommodate. There’s probably also a width that would never be comfortable. It is possible that you need more “practice” to get used to accommodating things that are larger than you are used to. A babys head can fit, as you say…but not “no problem.” And same goes for a penis. “Can theoretically fit” is different than “can comfortably fit for me at this point in time.”

  3. Reflight says:

    I can fit tampons/ fingers in just fine. I went for an (internal) ultrasound about a year ago and that was fine, too. Which makes me think either his manhood is too big, or my brain automatically goes “SEX PENIS AAAAGHHHH NOOOOO!”

  4. 8idko says:

    Sounds like you’re tensing your vaginal muscles. To isolate them, next time you go pee, stop and start your stream a couple of times. Then insert your finger and give it a little squeeze. Now that you can contract them on command, practice RELAXING them on command.

    Another position might also help. This site: http://www.sexinfo101.com/sp_index.shtml has computer animations of naked people demonstrating each of the 101 positions. http://www.sexinfo101.com/sp_delight.shtml is a good one for those who are still new to sex because you can both see what’s going on easily and then return to face-to-face intimacy.

  5. Reflight says:

    Good website, thanks!

    I’ve heard of that exercise before and I’m quite good at stopping and restarting my stream. Is it the same muscle or just the same theory?

  6. 8idko says:

    It’s the same theory but not the same muscle(s.)

    Starting and stopping your stream is NOT an exercise and some might even say it’s “harmful” to do regularly. However, it is an easy way to help identify some of the OTHER muscles involved, specifically those in your pelvic floor. And if your pain is muscular, un-clenching those will help.

    Once you get more familiar with them and with PIV sex, it’s quite pleasurable for both of you to alternate clenching and relaxing them on the in/out strokes.

  7. Reflight says:

    Oh don’t worry, I didn’t mean exercise as in a substitution for yoga or swimming or something. 😉 But I gave inserting a finger a go yesterday and practised some clenching/unclenching. I can see how clenching would make fitting a penis painful, as there was barely enough room for my finger once I tightened myself up.

  8. OibSuper says:

    First make sure there’s nothing medically wrong with you. A yeast infection, vaginal bacteriosis, urinary tract infection, those can all cause pain during sex. Have your hymen checked to see if it’s present, and if it is, if it’s too thick. Some women have super thick hymens that need to be surgically removed.

    If there’s nothing medically wrong, then I would work on getting control of those muscles. It’s possible that those first few times has sort of classically conditioned your body into expecting pain during sex, so the next time its in the situation, it tenses automatically, which just makes the situation worse.

    Work on contracting and relaxing them as described above, try penetration with a toy or your fingers (or his fingers). It may also help to start off with him massaging your back or something or just caressing you rather than jumping right into sex. Might help ease tension.

  9. Reflight says:

    I wouldn’t have thought it would be anything along the lines of a yeast infection, as I’ve had the problem now for a good year and a half (unless I’m just being really naive). Last year I had a gynaecological examination where basically a camera was inserted and the gynaecologist didn’t see anything wrong besides a bicornuate uterus.

    I’m able to get very relaxed before sex, but as soon as I feel him pressing against me, that’s when he starts telling me to relax and telling me I’ve clamped up. I’m thinking I need to do more solo practise.

  10. OibSuper says:

    It probably depends on the individual. I’ve heard of women having painful sex from BV..When I had it, it didn’t affect my sex life at all. I had a small yeast infection earlier this month and it didn’t cause pain during penetration or anything, but if he finished in me, it really burned.

    If everything else is fine, then I’d just work on doing some solo work with a toy and fingers. If you can fit enough fingers or toy+fingers to equal his width on your own, and it’s not painful, then it probably is an issue of not being able to relax when you need to.

  11. Reflight says:

    I would have thought a burning sensation would be a chemical reaction.

    I think I will try a toy, see if I can psychologically prepare myself for fitting something a bit bigger inside. Thanks. 🙂

  12. Etafornia says:

    i’m gonna lean the opposite direction…the ex and i were married 16 years, and were sexually active for 14 of those years. sex was good, but i *always* had pain/discomfort afterwards.

    no matter how wet i was, if we used lube, if we changed up the position, nothing. i had issues. he is generously endowed. apparently i’m indistiguishable from a virgin (whatever the hell THAT is supposed to mean!) in tightness. i do know that i have to have the teenager model speculum at the doctor, and i’m a two time mom. so there ya go, more antecdotal evidence. 🙂

  13. Reflight says:

    Wow. That must be incredibly frustrating.

  14. Etafornia says:

    honestly, the fact that our sex life ceased altogether frustrated me more. but i could have lived with that had all other things been ok, and they werent.

    kids, health issues, money, all took its toll on us and we ended up divorced. i’d say he’s one of my best friends now, though, definitely we’ve KNOWN each other long enough! (over 20 years now) 🙂

  15. Reflight says:

    I can imagine. Sex is painful, but that doesn’t mean I would want to go without it.

    At least you were able to take some positives from it. And as implodes says below, was it only painful afterwards, or during as well?

  16. Etafornia says:

    the begining was ouch as i was first stretched, then achy like sore muscles afterwards.

    memories of which allow me to see him sweaty without a shirt and appreciate that “hey, still a good looking guy” and not want to jump him any longer! *laughs* seriously, though, i adore my hubby and would never cheat on him. we have too good a relationship to screw up. 🙂

  17. SedClo says:

    so you’d have pain afterwards, but you got to the point where it wasn’t uncomfortable during?

    *finally had a successful pap smear w/ a pediatric speculum; penetration hasn’t yet been discomfort-free; looking for any glimmers of hope*

  18. Etafornia says:

    Yes, I did get to the point that I could regularly have penetrative sex without it hurting. He was above average size, though. Less girthy partners havent hurt as much.

    And even with the ex, it was more like sore muscle ow afterwards eventually, and not real pain.

  19. Noo99 says:

    More foreplay. If part of the problem is that you’re tense, I’d precede the foreplay by doing something like taking a bath or shower together, or giving each other massages, before the foreplay.

    You could try masturbating more (penetration), starting with a dildo that feels comfortable to you and gradually increasing in size over time.

  20. 78eZero says:

    I second foreplay, and also, this may seem obvious but… go slow !

    Getting teased for some time can help you relax. For exemple, have him rub against your lips and clit for a while but NOT go in. Or use his fingers while staying close and slowly transitionning from fingers to penis, even stimulate your clit while he goes in. Then get just the tip in and go very gently back and forth. He has to make you yearn for it, then YOU decide when you want more, so there’s no pressure, so stress. For me nipple play also does it to some extent.

    On the other hand, clenching your muscles is most likely something you can work on your own as well, like other commenters have said. What I’ve discovered using a menstrual cup is that relaxing those muscles is a lot like bearing down a little, at least this is what it means to me to actively relax them (not just laying there hoping they’re relaxed).

  21. Reflight says:

    not just laying there hoping they’re relaxed
    This just pretty much sums up what I do, haha.

    I think the problem with me is I’m too conscious of everything. If he touches me downstairs, in my head I’m like, “Whoa, how can he touch that? It’s all slimy and gross.” I don’t know how to chill the hell out. I need to work on that.

  22. Reflight says:

    Foreplay helps a bit, I must admit. A couple of times he’s jumped straight to it, and as well as being more painful, it was also slightly emotionally destroying (long story, though).

    Think I will do that. 🙂

  23. Etafornia says:

    hon, being treated as though you’re a sperm depository is ALWAYS a bit emotionally destroying. no matter how much you love the guy, sex is supposed to be mutually fun.

    and as your response above to juliiie87, i can see that your own body fluids are a bit of an issue for you? you have to have all those lovely squishy feelings going on for excellent lubrication, silly. its a signal that your body is getting ready, and oh my goodness, he DID that for you! 🙂

    i dont always get to the squishiness any more and i miss that. same thing with climaxing…my libido seems to be on extended vacation (yay menopause). but i still want the sex *emotionally*, and TheEngineer knows that its a problem with my workings not all firing, and its ok.

  24. Reflight says:

    I feel very silly admitting this, but my own bits creep me the hell out, always have done. From puberty onwards my mum was always encouraging me to “grab a mirror and torch and explore yourself before some man gets there first”, but I didn’t really manage it until I was 21. I don’t mind inserting foreign objects like tampons, but putting my own finger inside makes me feel kinda lightheaded and sick.


    That’s the hardest thing, wanting sex emotionally but not physically.

  25. Etafornia says:

    its ok. everyone has things that squick them out, honest. and i was 19 and had given birth before i ever looked at my own bits! 😀

    not everyone is truly comfortable with their bodies, or bodily fluids. its a bit funny to me, but its not something i’m bothered by, and some people dont have the screaming, jumping on top of the table reaction that i do to spiders, either. everyone has SOMETHING that really bothers them.

    i still want the sex emotionally and i like the silliness that goes into our foreplay. the most important thing to him is that we’re still connecting. and we are. 🙂

  26. Brook says:

    I went through the same thing with my current boyfriend. He has a large willy and when we first became intimate i insisted he go slow but it still hurt from the stretching. He’s not my first boyfriend, just the largest.

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