I’m 18-years-old. I recently started having sex with my boyfriend. At first, there was no pain. But now I have this really bad pain down in my vagina area whenever he tries to stick it in… and once he gets it past a certain spot, it doesn’t hurt anymore. But if he takes it out and goes to put it back in, it hurts again. If there is no wetness, it also hurts. And after we get done having sex, I always have to use the bathroom, so I go… but every time I do, there is a horrible pain down there, like my vagina is burning. It only happens the first time I use the bathroom – the second time and on it doesn’t hurt. I was just wondering what could possibly be going on with me. It’s been happening for almost a month now and I’m getting nervous.
Even though the media and Hollywood makes sex seem like it’s almost always magical and wonderful, it’s not. Feeling some sort of pain or discomfort down there is a lot more common than you would think – it’s just that no one wants to talk about it or admit it. That said, you shouldn’t be in pain every single time you hook up with your boyfriend, so let’s try to get to the bottom of this.
I talked to our friend Dr. Sherry Ross from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period care package you need to check out) to try and figure this out. First, Dr. Ross agreed with me, saying, “Pain with sex is really more common than you think. Everyone has experienced it at one time or another.”
She continued: “There can be many reasons women have painful sex. They include vaginal dryness (which sounds like part of the issue sometimes), vaginal infections, vaginal tears, latex allergies, ruptured ovarian cysts, endometriosis, vaginismus (involuntary spasm of vaginal muscles at the entrance to the vagina), and emotional problems like anxiety, history of sexual abuse, and depression. It could also be the position you’re trying.” So, when you say that you feel pain when you’re dry down there, that makes sense – if you’re not getting wet, you need to try to use lube for a better experience. The other pain you describe may be something different.
What could that something different be? Dr. Ross says, “Since you are newly sexually active, I suspect the entrance into the vagina is small and needs time to get used to and accommodate your boyfriend’s penis. It may take time and regular sex before you start to experience pleasure. A good lubricant and sometimes a numbing gel, lidocaine, applied at the entrance of the vagina helps to relieve this common problem.”
She added, “Having pain when you urinate immediately after sex is also a common complaint with new sex partners or if you are not having regular weekly sex.” After having something down there thrusting in and out, it’s normal to feel a little bit of a burning sensation when you pee immediately after. Dr. Ross said, “As long as you don’t have persistent, painful urination that would suggest a urinary tract infection, this all sounds fairly normal. And don’t forget: good communication with your partner and patience is the right recipe for success.”
If you notice that the pain isn’t going away, subsiding at all, or is getting worse, go to a gynecologist. It can’t hurt to get things checked out.