Skip to main content
Heather Corinna replies:
My girlfriend and I have been having sex for over 2 years now, but she is still very "tight", and really has to get into the mood before I can penetrate. It's almost as though we're having sex for the first time, every time. Sounds romantic, but it's a bit annoying for both of us (and she finds it painful if I accidentally push too quickly). With my ex I could slip a finger inside her without any hesitation, of course I would never mention that to my girlfriend. Once we're into it, there's no problem with going harder and faster, it's just that initial thrust. Is this normal? By being so gentle the first time have we possibly never broken her hymen? Otherwise, if we have sex more frequently, rather than maybe once a week/fortnight/month (for now we both still live at home with our parents) will she likely open up a bit more?
The vagina doesn't really have a static state of "tightness" or "looseness." When nothing is inside the vagina -- or nothing is being introduced to it -- the vaginal walls lay flat against each other, and the vaginal opening stays pretty small. That doesn't vary among women: it's the case for all women.
When a woman becomes more and more aroused, the muscles of the vagina relax, self-lubricate and then gradually "loosen." Same goes for the vaginal opening.
This likely isn't to do with a hymen: the hymen, when it is fully or partially present, lives right at the vaginal opening. And the hymen also isn't a seal that needs be "broken" -- it wears away gradually over time, sometimes even without any sexual activity or other direct contact. If she has a partial hymen obstructing that opening, that can make insertion more uncomfortable, but any in-and-out wouldn't be that hot, either. If in doubt, you or she can figure out if she has a partial hymen in the way just by looking right at her vaginal opening. It's a thin membrane, affixed to the walls of the vagina just behind the vaginal opening (much like front doors are often just behind a screen door in front of them in your house or apartment). But I'm betting this isn't about that, especially since it'd be pretty unusual to have hymenal tissue being any sort of real obstruction after two years or more of genital sex.
So, perhaps with your ex she just happened to be pretty aroused from the get-go. (And for first-timers, the reason for that "tightness" isn't usually so romantic, either: it's most often because a woman is fearful or just isn't relaxed.) In both men and women, some people are turned-on from the starting gate, or even well before it. But a lot of people also aren't: most people, most of the time aren't, actually, especially women. And if we're nervous, anxious, worried about something (like our normalcy, performance or relationship), anticipating pain, or just can't freaking relax, then our vaginas can't either: they're persnickety like that.
You know -- it sounds like -- your partner just needs time and other activities to "warm up" first, as well as the given understanding that that's what she needs and what a lot of women need -- so she needn't be frustrated thinking something is wrong with her. Again, that's normal, and if that's all that's needed, there's no problem here, especially since, again, that's what's needed for most women much of the time. If you're not using a good lubricant when you begin intercourse, that's a big help, too.
Might more frequent sex help? If the issue is that she's still getting comfortable with the idea of sex, it might in that she can become more relaxed about it as she does it more, but that in and of itself probably isn't the fix here. On the other hand, more frequent sex that is sex OTHER than intercourse might help a lot, as might the reassurance that your expectations were just off, which is no big, but nice to acknowledge so everyone can feel like they're not an alien.
Just be sure you are giving her that time to become fully aroused (and she's not feeling any pressure per intercourse -- intercourse needs to be optional), that you are making sex be about way more than just vaginal intercourse -- such as making sure you're also doing other activities about more than penis and vagina, but also, for her, about her clitoris, her whole vulva, and her whole body: don't forget that inside the vagina, past the first inch or two is actually one of the LEAST sensitive and sensory parts of a woman's body -- and that you are understanding that this isn't likely about anything being wrong. Probably, those things are all that's needed here.
Here are some articles that might help you both out, in addition to the advice:
Don't forget that sex is about YOUR whole body -- not just your penis -- too. So, in taking time to explore other activities for her before, during and/or after intercourse that make it all more pleasurable for her, plenty of those activities can also include things that put more whole-body focus on you, so the sex is better for you both.