Let’s talk about sex, baby. More specifically, experiencing pain during intercourse. Hang back, Salt-N-Pepa, we’ve got this one.
It’s pretty common for women to experience pain during sex at some point in their lives. Most commonly, women report either a painful entry where the area feels tender and raw or just uncomfortable pressure in areas with deeper penetration, but really anything that feels not great is… not great. So let’s fix it!
There are a myriad of things that could be going on to cause uncomfortable or painful sex. Lack of lubrication, soft tissue tears, scar tissue, endometriosis, or birth injuries just to name a few. The good news is that almost everything has a solution when you seek help. So if any of this sounds like your sexual experience, keep reading.
Lubricant is King
One of the most common reasons for painful sex is simply too much dryness. And you might not experience this all the time. During parts of the menstruation cycle, it’s normal for every woman to have a “dry phase.” It’s part of a natural shift that typically happens just days before or after bleeding simply because of a drop in estrogen levels. You might also experience dryness more during breastfeeding, perimenopause, or if you haven’t been sexually active for long periods. The thesis here is dryness is normal and therefore, lube is king.
If the painful or uncomfortable experiences you’re having during sex feel like friction, this is your go-to solution. Lubricant is the perfect way to decrease irritation or painful rubbing from the moment something enters to the moment it goes out. It can also help make sex last longer for those times when it’s just really, really good. We take a deeper dive into all things lube in this article.
Soft Tissue, Hard Problems
If vaginal dryness doesn’t seem like an issue, you might be experiencing some soft tissue restrictions. One of the most common ones our patients experience is called Vaginismus. This is when your body automatically reacts to penetration by tightening up or spasming the muscles in your vaginal canal. It doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to get aroused and it doesn’t have to happen every time..
Another common issue stems from holding too much tension in your pelvic floor. Often, we see this with athletes, for example. Just like some people may hold it in their chest, stomach, or neck, others hold it in their pelvic floor. Then, that tension can create so much tightness that any insertion is just uncomfortable. The feeling may vary based on penis size, too.
If your sexual pain doesn’t feel like it’s a lack of wetness, then it could be biological! Either of these issues can be solved with the right exercises, just pop in to see one of our experts.
Your Body After Baby
Last but not least, let’s talk about painful sex after birth. It’s pretty common for women to experience some scar tissue damage or prolapsed issues after giving birth. Episiotomies, endometriosis, pelvic congestion syndrome, and other surgical procedures are some of the most popular culprits for creating scar tissue within the body. This type of damage can make it difficult for vaginal expansion, which can cause painful intercourse.
Birthing can also lead to a prolapsed uterus, bladder, rectal tissue, or vaginal bulbs, which creates an uncomfortable rubbing/pressure in the body. So when something is inserted into the vagina, it can push on your prolapsed body part in an uncomfortable way.
If that feels like the source of your sexual pain, schedule an appointment with a pelvic floor therapist to better diagnose and treat the core problem.
What Will a Pelvic PT Do for Me?
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort during sex, stop powering through. A pelvic floor therapist can help diagnose what’s actually going on and set you up for success moving forward. Usually, that looks like a thorough external and internal exam where we’ll check your core, address abdominal areas, assess prolapses, evaluate your pelvic floor, and discuss tension, inflammation, and scar tissue to diagnose the root of the issue.
At Moment of Truth, we believe it’s critical to make sure our clients feel safe enough to discuss anything with their providers, so let’s chat honestly about how we can help make you feel more comfortable in your body and skin so you can have your best sex ever.