Whilst it’s not something we tend to regularly discuss, experiencing pain during sex is something everyone has felt at some point. According to my research, studies show that 3/4 of women have previously experienced ‘painful’ or ‘stinging sensations’ during sex, yet continue to push through it without seeking medical advice. It’s not healthy or wise to continue to have sex when experiencing severe or even slight pain, whether just once or on the regular basis. Think of the pain as a natural alarm bell telling you that something is happening in your body that needs to be taken care of.
Pain during sex can be caused from a number of things such as small infections which can be cleared up with home recipes, while some more persistent and regular occurring pains NEED to be checked out by a doctor and may come with more severe side effects and treatments. But what can cause pain during sex and how can I fix it?
- The most common of all is having insufficient lubrication: Even though your vagina is a natural self-lubricator, there are instances in which the body is unable to self lubricate, resulting in pain during intercourse. It could be as simple as not being aroused and you’ve jumped the gun or you’ve boozed too much at the bar and your “minds telling you yes, but your body, your body is telling you noooo” (yes I’m fully aware I switched the words, hahaha). Or, a slightly less known cause, can be a change in your level of hormones, or more precisely a lack of Estrogen. I recently found out that some contraceptive pills and other birth controls such as the implanon, can cause a lack of Estrogen in the body resulting in Vaginal Dryness. If you must stay on the contraceptive you are on, you can boost your Estrogen levels by eating things high in Estrogen like dried fruits, chickpeas, beans, peas, bran cereals and even swapping your regular milk for soy milk, just to name a few. By adding a few of these foods into your diet, you can boost up Estrogen levels to get back to where you need to be. I also found out, as an Asthma and regular hayfever sufferer, that medications to help these things have drying affects to your whole body (including your vagina) to help stop the symptoms. So as someone with the Implanon, Asthma and Hay fever, what do I do?! Reach for the lubricant. Don’t be afraid to get all slippery with a good tub of lubricant, like AstroGylde, who offer a lubricant specifically for Vaginal Dryness which can help to alleviate the symptoms.
- You’re allergic to something! While we’re on the topic, you can’t just go to the supermarket and buy the cheapest thing on the shelf. Lubricants are made with different chemicals, which can throw off your vagina’s natural pH balance – those deliciously sweet flavoured lubricants you love could be the reason you keep getting thrush… So stick to a brand who are SPECIFIC with what ingredients are in their products, like Wicked’s range of flavoured lubricants which have little to no glycerin in all of their products. The same goes for things like latex condoms. If you feel any sort of irritation after use, try to stick to “natural” based products and see how that fares with your body.
- You’re doing unrealistic positions: Blame the Karma Sutra for introducing you to positions which look like a whole lot of fun but realistically turn into how-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-get-out-of-this-position-without-breaking-my-entire-body. Not fun. It’s always good to experiment and deviate from your normal routine, but the Butter Churner (google it) might not be for you.
- You may have an STD/STI/pelvic disease: Yeast Infections suck. UTI’s suck. Pelvic inflammatory disease sucks. Herpes sucks. Nobody wants any of those, so you should do what you can to try and prevent them. Simple things like washing/urinating after sex can help prevent UTI’s, while things as easy as adding Natural Yogurt into your diet can help prevent yeast infections.. But, know who you’re sleeping with and get tested regularly if you’re not in a monogamous relationship. And WEAR A CONDOM. So if you’re experiencing symptoms such as burning or itching, whether external or internal, go to your doctor and get it checked out! It’s most likely a small infection, but get it checked to be safe!
- Your state of mind: Emotions such as fear, guilt, shame, embarrassment, or awkwardness about having sex may make it hard to relax. When you cannot relax, arousal is difficult, and pain may result. Stress and fatigue can affect your desire to have sex. So simple things like taking a shower or bath with candles after a long day at work, or giving each other massages are a great way to De -Stress. When you’re in a more relaxed state of mind and not carrying the weight of the days stress on your shoulders you will be able to focus on having fun with your partner and become more interested in having sex than before.
As previously mentioned, pain during sex can be caused from a number of different things, and is common among all women. It is SO important to your health that if you’re experiencing any re occurring burning, itching, stinging, or painful sensations in general during sex that you consult with your doctor. And hey, even if it is just thrush, at least they’ll point you in the right direction at the chemist and get you on the way to that life you took for granted when you had a non itchy vagina!
By Chloe a consultant Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres