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BrettJ
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Hi my girlfriend and I have had unprotected sex numerous times over the years, but more often then not, it hurts for her. I am circumsized and she said she never had this problem with her ex who is UNcircumsized. We have both been tested for STDs and HIV so we have never been affraid of disease. But it isn't pleasurable for her and knowing that kills me inside. Mutual oral play and masterbation has never yielded negative results. What could be wrong? We are willing to try anything at this point.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hi there, Brett.

So, first things first: this may or may not have anything to do with your penis, or with you being circumcised while her ex was not.

Now, if it IS about that, are you using additional lubricant, and plenty of it, right from the start? If not, that could be it or part of it. Uncircumcised penises produce some additional lubrication those which are cut do not, and the foreskin also can feel a bit more delicate, so having enough lube can really be a big factor.

If that's not it, then likely this just isn't about penises or foreskins.

Has she already seen her sexual healthcare provider and checked in about this pain? If not, I'd suggest she do that to be sure she doesn't have an infection now, which could cause discomfort.

If she has already done that, her provider saw no health issue that would be at the root of this AND you are already using plenty of lube every time, let's talk next steps and possible issues.

Have you two experimented with positioning a lot? Made sure she's always very turned on, including from other kinds of sex before intercourse, before you begin intercourse?

Is it painful from the start, or only at a certain point? When she communicates what feels good and what doesn't, has any of this, with intercourse, felt good to her yet? If not, when it doesn't, do you two stop, or try to go back to another sexual activity, then try again?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Also: does intercourse using condoms NOT feel painful for her, but instead feel good?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BrettJ
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It's harder for her to get really aroused at the thought of intercourse at this point even after foreplay (ie kissing, full body massage which she LOVES), oral and so on. We have not really experimented with lube but have used condoms with similar results of discomfort and pain. We always made sure she was wet inside before we tried intercourse. She has seen her health care provider about this issue and she's been treated for a yeast infection but we still have the same problems. She recently returned to her doctor, all tests came back negative to any infections this time.

If lubrication is our solution, what would you recommend?

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Heather
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Okay, so if you haven't been using lubricant? That is probably THE biggest culprit here. Really, lube is...well, it's a thing. It's a thing most people need with sex that involves someone's body part going into their anus or vagina.

Yes, vaginas do self-lubricate, but often not enough, and when someone isn't super-aroused, almost always not enough. And our own lubricant also doesn't tend to last the way the stuff made to be lube does. So, I'd strongly make a vote for lube. And for doing more than seeing if she's wet before, but only trying intercourse when she is truly, deeply, excited about it and very, very turned on. (Really, that's what we'd advise even without pain: intercourse as a receptive partner just doesn't tend to feel good -- even if it doesn't hurt -- when you're not.)

When she saw her healthcare provider about this, what did they say besides that she's clear of infections? Did they see any other reason she might be having pain? Was her exam painful for her, too, do you know?

I'd also suggest taking a break from even trying with intercourse. A pattern of pain and discomfort sure does make it hard to go in feeling excited, for both of you, and when she is anticipating pain, which she would be at this point, that makes her experiencing it WAY more likely. A break for a while, a few months, maybe, might really do both of you a lot of good, including taking the stress of this out of your relationship.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Were you asking me about brands with lubricants? If so, really, most lubricants are great, and we find the ones we like best by trying them out.

Just avoid the jellies: those are too thick, and don't go with novelty lubes (warming, cooling, etc.). You usually want to start by just trying a basic fluid, water-based lubricant.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BrettJ
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Her doctor told her she's clean and that's about it. She's usually the one who initiates intercourse to try and make me happier (in her mind). So I'll make sure we talk about how we feel about waiting or trying sooner with lubricant.
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BrettJ
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Also, with the water based lubes, are they harmful if injested?
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Heather
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I'm sorry to hear that her doctor didn't actually seem to address the issue she came in with!

Is her doctor an actual sexual healthcare provider, not a general doctor? If they're not, that might be why they didn't offer up much more: they may not have the education to do that.

It sounds like you two might also need to talk about how unhappy you clearly are this isn't feeling good to her, and how it does NOT make you happy for her to try and do something that just isn't feeling good. She may need to hear that from you clearly so she's not trying to do anything out of feeling like she has to for you. That feeling of obligation alone can make it very hard to be excited, and you know, not all sexual activities are things all couples or people in them enjoy or find work, in general, or for certain periods of time. You telling her it's fine to not do this may help a whole lot here, if you haven't.

You might also back that up with talking about the things you two DO both enjoy and find feel good, or some new things you'd be interested in trying.

With the lubricant, if and when you get back to her earnestly wanting to try sex with vaginal entry -- for herself just as much as you -- it might also be helpful to just start with fingers, and spend a lot of time experimenting with that if that feels good to her. That might also give you some extra clues about how intercourse might feel good too, clues you don't have yet.

But really, continuing to try to do something that's been hurting her, without any breaks, is pretty likely, in my education and experience with people in this spot, to still hurt her. Even if she or you has conflicting feelings about taking it all off the table for a little while, I'd advise still taking that break, but just working and talking through those feelings. It's very hard to break a habit of pain when we keep experiencing it, and lube all by itself isn't likely to be a magic solution here, even if it is the major answer in time. Make sense?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Water-based lubes are not harmful if they get in your mouth or stomach, no.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BrettJ
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It is her general doctor so that tells me a lot. That makes total sense, so lube is most likely the physical answer but we still need to make sure both our mentalities are in the right spot when trying again.

I greatly appreciate your time and explanations/advice.

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Heather
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Yep. And if taking a break, using lube and ONLY trying when she is so turned on and very much, herself, wanting intercourse doesn't do it?

Then I'd say she needs to see an OB/GYN, not a general physician. Or, she could do that at any time. She might honestly feel better even just seeing someone like that to talk about this and have it taken more seriously than it sounds like her GP was taking it.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BrettJ
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I agree 100% Thanks again!!!
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Heather
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You're welcome. Hope it helps you both, whatever the outcome. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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