Vaginal pain during sex, or at any time, doesn’t have to be something you just live with.
In this stream, CEO of Sexpert Consultants, LLC. Reba the Diva, and her guest Jenna Perkins, a nurse practicioner, discuss ways to mitigate or ease pain in your vagina and how you can help a partner who is experiencing pain during sex.
Vaginal pain is so common that some statistics show one in four vagina-owners experience it at some point in their lives. Despite how normal it is, we are often made to believe we feel pain because we’re doing something wrong. This is not the case.
There are a few reasons you might be experiencing pain: vaginal dryness due to hormonal shifts caused by breastfeeding, menopause, being on birth control, etc. You could have an STI or a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection, vulvar irritation, or muscle tension in the pelvic floor. The list goes on. Pain during intercourse could also be caused by trauma, which is defined as “anything that causes discomfort and has the potential to cause long-term lasting effects [...] So trauma can be emotional, it can be mental, or it can be physical,” says Reba the Diva.
If you’re experiencing any of these things, you should seek some treatment options. For vaginal dryness, it could be you need more lube and foreplay time, or your OB-GYN may recommend hormone replacement like vaginal estrogen or switching birth control. For pelvic floor dysfunction, such as vaginismus, consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you strengthen your vaginal, core, and seat muscles.
Those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have a traumatic response to sex, meaning their vaginal muscles will close up and tighten as a response to anything trying to enter. A physical therapist can help you loosen up your pelvic floor with certain stretches and exercises. Remember, how tight or loose your vagina is has all to do with your pelvic floor and nothing to do with how many partners you’ve had. If you’re so tight sex is painful, you might want to try yoga in addition to seeing a phycial therapist.
There are so many solutions to help ease vaginal pain, but seeking the advice of a healthcare provider is always a good first step. Feeling pain in your vagina generally, or during sex, is frustrating to say the least. But know that you are not alone, and that there are treatments out there.