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Not feeling much with penetration, what's up with that?

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Ashlee B. asks:

I'm 18 years old and I recently just lost my virginity. It wasn't very painful at all as I had heard it might be, in fact the pain I felt was very minor and more so irritating to my vagina than anything. The thing that I was worried about though however, is the fact that after he entered, I felt nothing. At first I thought that maybe it was because he doesn't seem really big in size, but after reading up on it, I guess he's pretty average. And although I felt nothing, he did. So I don't have a clue why this is so. Also, I've never really found pleasure in fingering either when he does or when I do it myself because I don't get a sensation from it. Could this be related? I just want to know if you any information that might be useful to me. Thanks.

Sarah replies:

You'll probably be surprised to know that this is a pretty common question with an answer that may be unexpected based on what we've been taught about how things "should" go.

The first thing you really need to understand when you're thinking about this is that the vaginal canal itself is not particularly nerve-rich. If you think about that logically, it makes good sense. From a reproductive standpoint, women need to be able to give birth via the vaginal canal. If we had lots of nerve endings and lots of specific sensation in that area, giving birth would be an incredibly painful process throughout. In fact, I'd guess (and this is just a personal opinion) that if we had a really high level of sensation there, humanity wouldn't have survived long because nobody would be wanting to give birth ever.

Regardless of why women are built that way, the simple fact is that they are. We don't have a lot of nerve endings in that area. So if you're expecting to have a lot of feeling in that area, it's just not going to happen. You may have some general sensation (like stretching or fullness, for example), but not a lot and much of what you do feel will be felt in the outer portion. Most of the nerves that are in the vaginal canal are concentrated in the first little bit of the vagina. This is a huge part of why most women won't orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone. You do, however, have lots of nerves in your external vulva and clitoris. If you're needing more sensation, you'll want to incorporate activities that include stimulating those areas (either during intercourse or non-intercourse activities). Somewhere we've gotten this cultural idea that vaginal intercourse is the sort of be-all-end-all and that it should be crazy pleasurable for women on it's own (heck, pick up a grocery store romance novel if you wonder where some of those ideas come from), when that just isn't the case.

So rather than worrying about feeling more from just penetration, how about finding activities that DO feel good for you? If you want more sensation during intercourse, then work with your partner (or on your own) to find ways of stimulating those bits that are nerve-rich. You can also experiment with other activities or positions that place more emphasis on those areas.

Check out the following links for more information:

written 10 Mar 2008 . updated 21 Jul 2008

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