How to Reduce Pain During Sex: A Guide for Women
Movies often portray sex through a lens of passion and perfection, but reality often paints a different picture.
All our lives, we've been conditioned to witness painless, romantic bedroom scenes, where the topic of discomfort is often left unexplored. Yet, in reality, pain during sex is a prevalent issue. According to an article in The Guardian, researchers estimate that one in three women experience pain during intercourse.
Are there ways to mitigate or even prevent this discomfort? Are there techniques that you and your partner can explore to enhance both comfort and pleasure?
If you've found yourself wondering about these questions after encountering uncomfortable situations, this guide is here to help you navigate this sensitive topic.
In This Article:
What Causes Pain During Sex?
Experiencing pain during intercourse has an official medical terminology – dyspareunia. If that’s something new you learned today, you’d be surprised to know that there are several reasons why women might experience pain while having sex with their partners.
Dyspareunia is genital pain during or after sexual intercourse. Painful sexual intercourse can be felt externally on the vulva or internally in the vagina, uterus or pelvis.- According to Cleveland Clinic
Let us walk you through a few of them:
A common reason for pain during sex is vaginal dryness, leading to elevated friction and discomfort when engaging in penetrative sex. Contrary to popular belief, vaginal dryness can happen at any age and be temporary or a chronic complication. It could be due to menopause, hormonal imbalance, side effects of medications, psychological factors, etc.
So, what’s the best way to overcome vaginal dryness? Well, lubrication. While most people resort to natural oils and saliva for instant lubrication, these make-shift methods may not be too helpful in combating severe dryness. Along with natural stimulation, you need professionally formulated lube that can reduce friction and make things glide smoothly.
You can consider water-based, natural formulations if you’re trying a lube for the first time. Durex’s Aloe Massage is a soothing water-based lubricant formulated with the goodness of natural Aloe Vera and non-toxic ingredients that can help you overcome vaginal dryness and elevate your experience.
STIs and yeast infections
STIs, yeast infections, and other common infections like urinary tract infections (UTIs) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can contribute to discomfort during sexual activity.
These conditions often manifest with symptoms such as blisters, redness, and inflammation. Engaging in skin-on-skin contact during intercourse can exacerbate these symptoms, intensifying pain and discomfort for the female partner
Vaginismus is a condition characterized by involuntary contractions or spasms of the vaginal muscles during penetrative sex. Unfortunately, the condition has not been widely studied in India. However, private studies indicate it may affect 5 to 17% of Indian women, particularly those with limited access to sexual health education and resources.
Vaginismus can be triggered by various factors, both physical and psychological, such as trauma or anxiety, worsening the pain during sex.
Anxiety and Stress
Did you know that anxiety or stress increases muscle tension and stiffness? And if you are exhibiting those symptoms during intercourse, that could be a potential reason for experiencing painful sex.
Also, the pelvic floor muscles tighten and become stiffer when stressed, exacerbating the pain you might be experiencing. Communicating the discomfort and pain with your partner is critical in times like these.
Allergic reaction to Condoms
Some women might be allergic to the elements that are used to develop a condom, for example, latex. So, when penetrative sex is involved, the material of the condom might lead to pain, discomfort, and irritation, instilling a sense of anxiety as well.
Looking for non-latex condoms? Durex Real Feel condoms are made from a non-latex material so that they are suitable for people who have an allergy to natural rubber latex proteins
Another common reason that leads to pain during penetration is endometriosis. It is a medical condition where the endometrial lining grows outside the uterus. This can cause scarring, inflammation, and rashes during sex, eventually making the whole experience painful for the female partner.
With the causes out of the way, let us talk about some ways you can seek help to minimise the risks.
Seeking Help for Painful Sex
If the pain becomes chronic every time you engage in sexual intercourse, getting help is optimal.
Following are a few options worth considering:
1. Consult a Gynaecologist or Urologist
The first and potentially the most potent way to get help to reduce pain during sex is by scheduling an appointment with a gynaecologist.
Given that medical reasons are a potential trigger for painful sex, it is crucial that getting a proper diagnosis is essential. Understanding the root cause of the pain, getting a diagnosis and treating the relevant physical condition is vital to overcoming the issue.
2. Consult a Psychologist
Conditions like vaginismus, one of the primary reasons for painful sexual intercourse, can be triggered by traumatic experiences surrounding sex, stress, or anxiety. Consulting a psychologist and getting the relevant therapy could be a great way to overcome these complications and create a more positive mindset surrounding sex.
3. Consult a Sex Therapist
An experienced sex therapist can address sexual concerns and provide relevant guidance to overcome the complications associated with pain related to sex.
Not only medical concerns, but a sex therapist can also help you navigate through issues that you might have with your partner, including communication issues, physical challenges and emotional barriers that could contribute to the pain. A safe and open environment with a sex therapist can help you address your concerns and explore relevant solutions.
4. Communicate with your partner
Talk to your partner if the painful sex is caused by a lack of lubrication. Open and honest communication with one’s partner is a great way to navigate complications and build a stronger relationship.
Seeking help is a positive step towards improving one’s sexual well-being and overall quality of life.
5 Tips to Reduce Pain During Sex
Besides medical interventions, a few practical remedies can reduce pain during sex for females and make the experience more fun and pleasurable.
1. Try a lubricant
Vaginal dryness is a common cause that leads to pain during sex. Considering lubricants is a practical way to navigate through the complication.
Water-based lubricants like Durex Naturals Water-Based Intimate Lubricant is a gentle, pH-friendly, intimate lube that can enhance one’s sexual experiences.
You can also try a silicone-based lubricant like the Durex Real Feel Lubricant. Silicone stays wetter for longer, which makes it a good choice for all-nighters as well as anal sex. However, it’s best to avoid silicone-based lubricants with silicone personal massagers and pleasure toys.
2. Foreplay and arousal
Natural vaginal lubrication during sex heavily relies on extended foreplay and focuses on the female partner’s arousal. If your mind is cluttered with the question, “How to reduce pain during sex,” optimal foreplay is the key.
The spicy play in the bedroom can start with light kissing, touching, and other forms of physical intimacy. This creates a sense of belonging and trust, which then translates into natural lubrication. Arousal before the actual penetration helps the body prepare for intercourse and reduces the discomfort one might feel.
3. Try different positions
If the pain during sex is due to an incorrect position or strain on the muscles, switching up the sexual position can help alleviate the pain. For this, you must communicate your needs to your partner. Tell them what’s not working for you and how they can switch things up to make the experience more comfortable and pleasurable for you in the bedroom.
4. Relaxation techniques
Women who struggle with stress and anxiety before intercourse can involuntarily experience muscle stiffness, often making the sexual experience painful and uncomfortable.
Trying breathing techniques, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can overcome discomfort during sex. Most relaxation techniques train the body and mind to remain calm during sex, ensuring a comfortable experience.
5. Masturbation and self-discovery
Every woman’s definition of sexual comfort and pleasure is subjective. What you like in the bedroom might differ from someone else’s idea of intimacy and pleasure.
This is where masturbation comes into the picture. Masturbation is a great way to discover what you like and don’t when it comes to personal intimacy. This type of self-discovery makes it easier for you to communicate your needs to your partner.
Sex is an act of passion, love and intimacy, and pain doesn’t have to be a part of it. If you are experiencing pain while engaging in penetrative sex with your partner, getting the right help is imperative.
If lubrication is a concern, Durex sex lubricants are designed to enhance your sexual experiences and overcome the pain and discomfort you are feeling now.
Is sex painful for women?
It is not normal for women to constantly experience pain during sexual intercourse. If you are feeling discomfort, consulting a doctor can help stop the cycle of pain. Communicating the issue with your partner is as important.
Is pain during sex normal?
Experiencing pain while having sex can indicate one of the three things – infections, medical condition (physical or psychological) or improper lubrication. Irrespective of the cause, experiencing pain during sex isn’t a typical experience and should be treated by experienced professionals, lubricants or communication with one’s partner.