QUESTION: My husband and I have been married six years. We have a good sex life. But I always experience pain at the moment of penetration. We take things slowly. And after the initial pain things go well. But what can I do about that painful intercourse?
Answer Concerning Painful Intercourse:
God intended sex in marriage to bring pleasure. When that pleasure is interrupted because of pain, the entire process of “becoming one” is affected.
Unfortunately, pain is often difficult to relieve. That is because the reason for it can’t be identified. To help you and your doctor determine why you are having discomfort, for the next four of five times you have intercourse, write down a description of the pain. Describe exactly when you feel the pain begin. Then describe when it lessens. Describe the exact location of the pain. Also describe the type of pain (stinging, burning, jabbing, or a feeling of pressure).
Additionally, it’s helpful to write down information from a vaginal self-examination. In a comfortable position, use a vaginal lubricant and hold a mirror. Examine the opening of your vagina for redness, irritation, rash or sores. Is there tightness or pain when you insert a finger? Note any sensations you feel when tightening or relaxing your vaginal muscle around your finger. Take note when pressing your finger against your vaginal wall. Write down what you discover.
Locate a Doctor
Once you have recorded the data, schedule an appointment with your physician. If he or she still can’t help, try to locate a medical doctor who is both a gynecologist and urologist. Find one who specializes in treating painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
Inflammation or irritation of any of the structures of the genital area will cause pain. This will require medical attention. Chronic infections such as genital warts or herpes also can cause pain upon entry.
As sexual therapists, we treat a common cause of painful intercourse called vaginismus. This is the involuntary spastic tightening of the muscle controlling the entrance to the vagina. To relieve vaginismus, the woman uses a series of graduated dilators. They stretch and relax the muscles that control the opening of the vagina.
She begins by inserting the smallest dilator that she can comfortably insert. This is to be done several times a week. Use the same process as recommended for vaginal self-examination. She leaves the dilator in place for 15 to 30 minutes while tightening and relaxing the vaginal muscle.
When she feels ready, she tries the next largest dilator. She continues to graduate to large dilators until she is able to comfortably insert a dilator of the same or larger circumference as the head of her husband’s erect penis. You are fortunate to have a good sex life in spite of your initial discomfort. But you need to pursue a solution that will enable you to have entry without any pain.
Dr Clifford and Joyce Penner wrote this article. It originally appeared in a back issue of Marriage Partnership Magazine. It is included—along with other articles, in the book, The Healthy Marriage Handbook. In this insightful book you’ll find more than 200 confidential, personal questions that real people asked the editors of Marriage Partnership.
Dr Clifford Penner, and Joyce Penner are the authors of The Gift of Sex published by Thomas Nelson, and Restoring the Pleasure: Complete Step-by-Step Programs to Help Couples Overcome the Most Common Sexual Barriers published by W Publishing Group. Clifford is a clinical psychologist and Joyce is a clinical nurse specialist. The Penners are sex therapists in private practice in Pasadena, California.
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If you are experiencing painful intercourse, please don’t think you don’t have options—other than experiencing pain. Many, many women go through this experience. Look, seek, knock, and find the door that can open to you to get beyond this. It IS possible! Many, many women have found help. They are now experiencing great sex with their husbands. This can be possible for you too!
There is another condition that sometimes causes painful intercourse. It’s called vaginismus. What is vaginismus? The definition, according to the web site found at vaginismus.com is:
“Vaginismus is vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse.”
You may want to go to the above mentioned web site. See if you get the info you need to help combat painful intercourse.
Here are a few other articles to read. We believe you will find very insightful and helpful:
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Here are a few other articles to read and glean through to see what will best help you:
I pray this helps in some way.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International compiled this article.
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Filed under: Sexual Issues