5 (really important) reasons sex hurts

pretty and painful – why sex can hurt. photo by john hallmen

Many of you have written into Lena (askanexpert@gurl.com) and Heather asking about sex and what it feels like, if it hurts, why it’s hurting, and how to make it not hurt. A lot of you gURLs have anxieties about sex and rightfully so! Sex is a really intimate experience (though it doesn’t have to be for every gURL) and it carries a lot of emotional baggage. Whether you’ve done the deed or not, you need to know how you could be hurting yourself. Here are 5 reasons sex might hurt (that they’ll never teach you in sex ed):

1, You’re tense. It seems contradictory to ask you to relax when you’re so excited, but that’s exactly what you need to do. And if it’s your first time, there’s obviously so much going through your head. Mere anticipation can make your vaginal walls contract and make it really difficult for penetration. Try to shut it off (unless it’s telling you no, then listen and don’t have sex!) and keep your legs and vagina relaxed.

2. You’re not wet. Did you know that 30 percent of women don’t produce sexual lubrication on their own? It’s actually really common! However, many doctors believe that a gURL’s ability to get wet is directly influenced by how she feels about her partner. If you’re not into the situation or the person, your body will respond accordingly and not create welcoming conditions for penetration. So be sure you’re comfortable before getting to that step. If you are, use lubricants like KY Jelly (doctor’s choice) or Astroglide (they can get messy, so have towels nearby!).

3. You’re in a bad position. Here’s a little tidbit of info: the position of your cervix changes weekly with your cycle. That means there will be times of the month where it sits lower and is prone to painful poking by penetration. Note these days and which positions are comfortable — stabbed cervices are not fun.

4. His penis is (too) large. While having a big one is a point of pride for many men, it can actually be really harmful to a gURL! If your partner’s penis is very long or particularly girthy, talk to him about how far he can go in you. If he can’t respect it and be understanding and want to please you, then do not engage in intercourse with him.

5. You have other health conditions. There are tons of conditions and medications (appropriately, birth control) that could affect your body’s natural ability to lubricate, which could cause pain (even from tampons!). Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other female reproductive organs, is one, while Urinary Tract Infections and some STDs can contribute as well. Sex often brings on yeast infections and UTIs — these are best avoided by peeing as soon as you possibly can after sex, since the penis/condom introduces different chemicals and fluids that can upset the natural PH in your bod.

Moral of the story? If you are ever uncomfortable, communicate that with your partner. Take things slow (sex is not what’s in pornos)  and if you feel sore the next day, an anti-inflammatory (e.g. Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc.) should help ease the pain. And if you feel any burning, itching or anything inflamed a few hours or days after? You may have a UTI, yeast infection, or other more serious condition, so call your doc ASAP if that’s the case.

Any more questions? Have your own additions? Tips? Thoughts? Experiences? Share below or email us at askanexpert@gurl.com or heather@gurl.com!


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