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He loves this position, but it hurts me like hell.

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la.shortie asks:

My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and we have been having sex. But when we do the doggystyle (not anal) its painful for me. I feel that like my stomach is hurting, which kinda sucks because my boyfriend likes it a lot but its too painful for me. I try to bear with the pain so I can please him but sometimes its too much. What can I do so it doesn't hurt?

Heather Corinna replies:

In a lot of ways, people are like puzzle pieces, emotionally, intellectually and physically. Any two different pieces don't always fit together, or fit together in the same way.

Not all of our bodies and genitals are made alike. With penises, for instance, you not only have differences in size, you have differences in shape or curvature. Vaginas are a bit more adaptable and uniform -- even though vulvas differ very widely -- but every position is still not going to feel good to every woman, with every partner. The weight, size and proportional differences of two people's whole bodies can also make some positions not so workable.

Now, it may be that your partner is simply being too rough or aggressive in that position; it may be that you're trying to have intercourse that way before you are highly aroused enough for your cervix to have pulled back so it's out of the way. If either of those things are the case, then make some changes. If he's too rough, ask him to slow down or not to push in so deeply or so hard. If you're doing this before you're highly aroused, ask him to be sure to take more time with other sexual activities that really get you hot and bothered first, particularly those that aren't about intercourse or vaginal entry. It may also be putting pressure on your bladder, so if you're not emptying it before sex, you can try that -- you'll want to do that before and after any kind of sex anyway, just to help avoid getting urinary tract infections.

But if you do all that and a given position still just doesn't feel good to you with a different partner, then it just doesn't feel good to you. Clearly, your partner has a preference about a position: you get to have preferences, too. He likes this one, but it is painful for you, so you just make clear that it's a bummer, but this one thing he likes isn't workable for you: that it not only doesn't feel good, it hurts.

That shouldn't be a huge deal, nor should you be putting yourself in pain to try and please your partner. In most couples, there are going to be positions or sexual activities that one likes and the other doesn't, and positions and sexual activities that may feel great for one person, but hurt the other. Ten bucks says there is at least one sexual activity your partner has not interest in, or might find painful, which a partner of his might like a lot. We're very infrequently going to have a sexual partner who just happens to like everything we like, and for whom everything that feels good to us feels good to them: and that's okay. We don't need to be sexual twins with someone to have a satisfying sex life.

In situations like these, we always defer to the partner who is NOT getting any pleasure, who IS feeling pain instead, or who just can't do something: it's that person who gets privileged here.

If your partner deeply cares for you, I can't imagine he'd be feeling pleasure knowing you're in pain. Most partners who care and are really invested in the other would actually be pretty horrified to hear that a partner has been in pain for their benefit. How might you feel about that were the shoe on the other foot? Would you want him to be in big pain just so you could get off? Probably not. If he does know that it hurts you, and isn't very easily letting you know that even though he likes that, of COURSE it's not something he'll do or ask for anymore, then I'd suggest you have a chat with him about that, and have a think about the sexual dynamic in your relationship. Just be sure it really is about both of you and pleasure for both of you.

If you haven't said a word about this, then it's way past time to do that.

All you need to say is that you're sorry, but this is just one thing you can't do because it hurts. Like I've said, that should not be a big deal: your partner should be very easily responsive and considerate about it. You can also then talk about the things you DO both like, and which DO feel good for both of you (not which just don't hurt: sex is supposed to be about feeling pleasure, not just about avoiding pain). Sexual partners should be creating a sexual life together that makes room for what both partners need, and takes what feels good -- and what doesn't -- for both into consideration.

Okay? Here are a few more links to give you some extra information, and to help you out with that chat:

written 26 Jan 2008 . updated 30 Jan 2009

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