I feel too tight: should I use painkillers during sex?
Heather Corinna replies:
I am a small girl and I am tight and it hurts if I try to put anything to big inside me. I have 2 vibrators and a dildo. One of the vibrations goes in with no hassle the other one is a little bit bigger and its not as easy but and I have a dildo but when I try to put the dildo in it hurts like a burning pain. I bought the second vibrator to loosen me up and I hope it's working... but if I took pain killers can that take pain away I will feel during sex?
Our general body size earnestly has very, very little -- and most often nothing at all -- to do with the "tightness" or "looseness" of our vaginal openings and vaginas. Genital size, whether we're talking about penises or vaginas, most typically does not correspond to overall body size.
I'm not going to go into detail on why here, because this question and answer from the other day goes very in depth as to why, and it's also explained in-depth in this article here. This article can also give you a lot of information about your genital anatomy and how it works when it comes to pleasure.
But the long and the short of it -- or the tight and the loose of it, as it were -- is that the vagina and vaginal opening are never one static size, save the size that is the closed position of both. When nothing is inside either, they just sit collapsed on each other. This really isn't about size at all, it's about flexibility.
While some things can make the vagina and opening less flexible -- that can happen, for instance, with or around menopause, or with certain health conditions -- the flexibility of vaginal openings and vaginas for most people is mostly about sexual arousal levels and state of mind, as well as whatever we are introducing to them or have inside them. If you keep having vaginal or vulval pain it's always a good idea to have a sexual healthcare provider take a look to be sure you're not dealing with a health condition, but since it sounds like some entry is just fine for you, and you're only having pain with trying to insert certain things, at this point, a pain condition seems unlikely.
Buying a toy with the idea of permanently "loosening" yourself up is a flawed idea: sex toys or penises or fingers can't do that.
Sex toys are made with pleasure in mind: if you're enjoying using them for masturbation and they make you feel more comfortable, fantastic -- but that's about the only way they'll make a difference with vaginal "tightness" in any long-term way. In other words, what they can do is help you learn to relax more with vaginal entry and with that feeling of something inside your vagina, and they can also potentially help you learn what arouses you so you know what you need to get to a place of arousal where entry can feel good. Those things can absolutely help to make it more likely vaginal-entry sex with a partner is pleasurable, rather than painful. If using sex toys isn't something you're enjoying and feeling comfortable with, then there's really no reason to use them. Again, they can't "loosen" your vagina.
If you're trying to insert something -- especially without any or enough lubrication, another part of this issue -- when you aren't very aroused, or which is just not comfortable for any number of reasons, then it's...well, not going to be comfortable. If your vibrator and your dildo are made of different materials -- and they likely are, as most dildos are made of jelly or silicone, a more tacky material than say, hard plastic -- the issue may be as simple as your dildo being more porous and requiring more lubrication be used with it. (As well, your sex toys may well be larger and are certainly far less flexible than a partner's fingers or penis. So, there's also that.) If and when something like vaginal intercourse feels burny, lack of enough lubrication is often an issue.
It should also be noted that you need to pay good mind to your vaginal health with sex toys: are you covering your toys with a condom when you use them? Or are they toys (your vibrator likely isn't) which can be boiled to be sanitized? If not, and this pain is starting to be persistent with any toys, or in general, then that's another good reason to check in with a doctor to make sure you don't have an infection from using toys you haven't been cleaning. That can certainly cause pain with entry. And prevention is key here: so if you're fine now, just think ahead and start covering those toys, and/or boiling the ones you can. Don't buy toys you can't cover or sanitize adequately.
Lastly, I'd say using painkillers during sex with someone else isn't a good idea for most people. I'd approach that a bit differently if we were talking about an ongoing and established pain condition that impacted sex where a healthcare provider suggested pain medications, but we're not.
Not only does using a painkiller put you in a position where you may not be able to fully consent to sex and your judgment can be impaired, but drugs like painkillers which dull sensations during sex won't selectively dull them. In other words, if a painkiller did make sex feel less painful, it could also make it less pleasurable. I'm going to assume your goal isn't to engage in sex where you really aren't feeling it, period. If we're talking about something minor, like an aspirin, the consent issue isn't really there and it wouldn't impact your pleasure that much, but even a medication like that used before you even try things to see how they feel and learn what feels good and doesn't wouldn't be something I'd suggest.
It's important to have a sense of when things hurt with sex because that helps us to avoid injury. Masking pain with sex with a painkiller so you just don't feel pain not only could mean sex won't feel as good, it also could mean you don't notice when you or a partner are doing something your body isn't up to, which is a way to get hurt. If something sexual hurts, you're going to want to stop what you're doing, figure out why it hurts, and make a change, whether that's adding some lubricant, asking a partner to do something differently, or switching to another kind of sex because that kind just doesn't feel good anymore that day.
Just like with sports or other things, pain during sex is about our bodies telling us to chill out or change things up in some way so we don't get an injury. Turning those signals off not only can get us hurt, they can keep us from finding out what does and doesn't feel good so we can learn to avoid pain as much as possible.
See that second article I linked you to above, and this one here: if you're in the right headspace to be having vaginal sex with entry (which includes earnestly wanting to, and feeling really comfortable with that) with a partner who you're communicating well with, and who's responsive to what you're communicating, you should be experiencing pleasure, not pain. If and when you're not, a pill is rarely the right answer.
Think of it like this: it's not really about doing anything to avoid or numb out pain, but about learning how to feel really good. Anticipating pain actually makes it more likely we're experience it.
If you really want to have a given kind of sex, anticipate pleasure, let a partner know what you do in advance about what helps you feel good -- physically and emotionally -- and see how it goes. When you, and any sexual partners you may have in the future, explore sex and sexuality in that kind of positive way, you get to learn about what feels good and what doesn't in a much sounder way that's more fun and more engaged than being half-present and half-numb on Percoset. People often use alcohol this same way, and that presents the same kind of problems.
One last thing? No one HAS to have any kind of sex they don't want to or that they don't think will feel good for them. Again, how these things feel with toys probably will not be how they feel with people, no matter what. But if they did, just like with the toys now, you don't have to do them. You could look into why they were hurting and try things differently if you want to engage in those activities, or you could just nix those activities if you don't want to try or you just feel nervous about them, be that about pain or anything else. The sex we choose to have is, again, about exploring what we want and what feels good to everyone involved, and that means honoring whatever our minds and bodies need, not trying to shut those things down. Sometimes a partner might want to do something we don't, or that doesn't feel good. If and when that happens, then that person just needs to accept that's now what we want or works for us, an approach I'm sure you figure you'd take with someone you cared about in the same spot, right?
So, that's one more very good reason not to get too worried about sex you might or might not have in the future or about how to find a quick fix for pain. It doesn't have to be like that. You only ever have to have the kind of sex you want that feels good for you and your body. Anytime it doesn't, you not only don't need to just find a way to make pain go away so you can have it regardless, you're much more likely to have a sex life that feels good all around if you listen to and respond to what your body wants and needs than taking something so you can't hear its messages.