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Sex hurts her, but I don't want it to!

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Anonymous asks:

Ok, me and my girlfriend just now started to have sex and it's like still hurting her after like the 3rd time we couldn't really do it too long that time because it hurt her. And I'm worried if I'm not doing something right because I don't want to hurt her I want it to be enjoyable for her. What Do I Do!

Heather Corinna replies:

I'm going to presume that you're male, but my apologies if I'm incorrect in that assumption.

I'm also going to presume that you're talking about genital or vaginal intercourse.

We outline a lot of this here -- From OW! to WOW! Demystifying Painful Intercourse -- but let me draw from and expand upon the section in that for male partners.

How can you help out with this? Pretty easily. If you're concerned about your partner's pleasure as much as yours to read something like this, you're already halfway there. Whoohoo!

• Make clear to your female partner, from the onset of your sexual partnership, that she should always feel free to let you know when she's feeling any pain or discomfort, even if you appear to be enjoying yourself, and that you have exactly zero problem halting or changing the action for her so that she, too, feels good. And when she's hurting from sex, that's exactly what you should do: stop with what you're doing, give her a minute. Then if she wants to keep having sex, step away from intercourse and take some more time with receptive sexual activities for her that don't start and end with her vagina. That's things like stimulating her clitoris with your fingers or your mouth, maybe mutually masturbating together, maybe making out: whatever makes her feel good that isn't about entering her vagina with fingers or a penis. When she's starting to feel really good from those things -- maybe even after she reaches orgasm from one of them -- then ask again if she wants to try intercourse. If she does, then you can try again and see if it feels better for her. Chances are good that it will. Often when intercourse hurts it's because a woman just isn't aroused enough -- remember that intercourse alone doesn't often stimulate our most sensitive parts.

You can also make clear that you only want to be having sex together at times she wants sex, too.

• Ask questions during sex. We're not talking about anything complicated: "How does this feel?" and "Is that comfortable for you?" and "Need more lube?" and "What position feels best for you?" and "Want me to go deeper/faster or not?"

And on that note, do be sure you ARE using lubricant as needed for her with intercourse.

• Don't bang away with your penis or fingers if your partner's vagina appears to be putting up resistance or she's clearly not enjoying herself. Instead, go back a step or two: if inserting your penis is problematic or is causing your partner discomfort, go back to her clitoris for a while, maybe lube up a single finger and massage her vaginal opening until the vagina itself almost seems to "suck" that finger in readily. Think baby steps. Think about the sort of care, for instance, your testicles or your anus need.

It's usually best to be very gradual with vaginal intercourse, especially when it's new. Go i only a little bit at a time, being sure that you and/or your girlfriend are also doing other things to keep her feeling good, like rubbing her clitoris while you do that. When she ASKS for you to go deeper -- which she will if it feels good -- that's when you go deeper.

• Let your partner initiate sex just as much as you do.

Make sure that intercourse is really what she wants, and that it's also something she wants as much for herself as she does to please you, or because it's what she thinks she's supposed to be doing. Not everyone likes intercourse all that much, and even when we do, it's not always the kind of sex we want to be having on a given day.

• Don't rush. Period. It's understandable to want to hurry due to short or unpredictable erection times, or because it just feels so intense, but other sex when erections don't hang around, or additional sexual activity for your partner with hands or mouths if you reach orgasm yourself quickly is always, always better than pain for your partner.

• Remember that her vaginal canal not only isn't where all her sexuality and pleasure lies, but that for most women, it's secondary. Paying attention to her whole body and her whole vulva -- not just her vagina -- is the real deal (and, in fact, equally encouraging your partner to pay attention to YOUR whole body and the whole of YOUR genitals --the penis, but also the testes, perineum and anus, pressure points around the pelvis -- also will enhance YOUR sex life and the level of your pleasure, too!).

I'd also suggest just sitting down and having an honest chat about this: tell her that you don't like she's been hurting, and that you want to try and figure out what you both can do to avoid pain on her part. Make sure she DOES want intercourse, and isn't so nervous or sure she's going to experience pain (if we anticipate pain, we're way more likely to experience it). You might want to suggest you two take a break from intercourse and focus on other activities for a while so that she can basically reclaim sex as a pleasurable experience, and so you two can learn more about what she enjoys most together so you can better incorporate those things into the times you have intercourse. And above all else, remind her that you two never have to do anything either of you just haven't really liked or which hurts: obviously, you don't want to hurt her, but it can never hurt to remind her of that, and to reinforce with her that you're most pleased when you are both feeling good, so she shouldn't ever feel obligated to do something that isn't working out for her, period, or right now.

In the case that she's feeling pain with ANY vaginal or vulval contact, even after doing some or all of what I'm suggesting here, have her be sure to also talk to her healthcare provider. There are certain conditions where for vaginal or vulval pain to get better, a person may need medical treatment.

Here are a few more links to help you out:

written 22 Feb 2008 . updated 18 Jan 2009

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