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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » I did everything right, so why did it hurt so much?

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Author Topic: I did everything right, so why did it hurt so much?
BlueDahlia67
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I recently had my first partnered sexual experience, and while it was nice overall, we tried to have PIV sex and he couldn't get it in. I don't understand why it didn't work. I'm 20 years old, I masturbate regularly (with fingers - I can usually get 2 or 3 in my vagina), and we took it really slow and I was really turned on and well lubricated. But he couldn't get past my vaginal opening, and it felt like I was being stabbed, and something definitely tore because there was a decent amount of blood in my underwear by the next morning. I feel like I did everything I'm supposed to do to make it not hurt, so why was it so painful? I thought that was a myth perpetuated by the patriarchy to keep women from having sex. I feel a bit betrayed, to be honest. Is there anything else I can do, or is it possible that there's no way around this and it's just going to be really painful the first time?
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September
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Let's see what we can do to sort this out, alright?

First things first, are you up to date with your reproductive health-care?

Seconly, I remember that the last time we saw you here, you were in a situation where you were dating two people and were not feeling comfortable with that. Have you resolved that situation? Are you happy with how things are going right now? If not, and this is an on-going problem, then it's possibly that this has had an effect on your experience, as well.

Let's start there and see where that takes us. You can also take a look at this article and see if that helps you at all: From OW! to WOW! Demystifying Painful Intercourse

[ 03-30-2014, 08:53 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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BlueDahlia67
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Hi,

Thanks for getting back so soon. The two-guy issue is resolved - I've stopped seeing one of them so I'm just with one guy now. I would say I'm up to date on my reproductive health care - I have to get a yearly physical because I'm on the pill but I've never had a pelvic exam or anything. My doctor has looked at my vagina (I think I was getting a swab for bacterial vaginosis or something) and she didn't say anything, but she may not have been looking at my vaginal opening. I will probably be getting an STI test from health services in the next few weeks though, just in case though we did use protection, so if there's anything else I should get checked out I can bring it up then.

I don't know how to explain this without a diagram, but think my hymen does this thing where there's a piece that goes from one side of my vagina to the other, like a bridge. I've noticed it sometimes catching on tampons when I'm trying to pull them out. I don't know if that's a common thing or not? When I got home I tried to take a look to see where the tearing might have been and it looked like there was some tearing on one end of the bridge thing, so I think that might have gotten in the way.

[ 03-30-2014, 09:05 AM: Message edited by: BlueDahlia67 ]

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September
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I am glad to hear that you've made a choice that you're comfortable with! That's great.

Alright, so what you are describing sounds like you might have something that's called sepatate hymen. And that's basically just what you've said: when a part of the hymen covers the vaginal opening, sort of like a bridge. It is not super common, but it is something that can happen sometimes and it's nothing serious. My suggestion would be that you hold off on further attempts at intercourse until you've seen a gynecologist and discussed this with them.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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BlueDahlia67
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Well, I'm glad to know that it's an actual condition with a name. I'll see how soon I can get an appointment. Thanks!
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September
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You're very welcome! Glad to be of help. [Smile]

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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BlueDahlia67
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Hi,

Sorry to jump back on this, but I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow so hopefully I'll have some more answers then. In the meantime, I've been trying to decide what to tell my partner, and I'm not sure how much detail I should give him. I don't know how much he knows about the finer points of obscure female anatomy (especially given that I didn't even know what this was until a few days ago) so I don't want to overwhelm him. At the same time, I think it's important for him to know why it didn't work and that it wasn't either of our faults. Obviously I'll know more after tomorrow, but I want to get this right. Thanks!

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Sam W
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Hi Bluedahlia,

I', glad you've got an appointment scheduled. Hopefully they can give you some answers and some suggestions [Smile] .
I think, for what to tell your boyfriend, just describing what your hymen is doing the way you did for us (that it acts like a bridge) should do the trick. And, like you said, focusing the conversation more on how this is just a quirk of your body and not anything either of you did wrong is the way to go. If he seems confused on some of the finer points of anatomy, we have a few pieces on it that you can refer him to.

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BlueDahlia67
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Hi,

I saw a doctor today, but now I'm even more confused and upset. Basically, she said there wasn't anything she could do about it and that it was just going to hurt a lot. I should add that at the university I'm at (in the UK), they sent me to a nurse for anything sexual health-related, and I'd need a GP to send me to a gynecologist, and I don't know how long that would take. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. If a small tear bled that much and hurt that much, what's going to happen when one end of my hymen gets ripped off? She took a look at it and apparently it also goes all the way around my vaginal opening, rather than being 'half moon' shaped. Is there something I can put on my hymen to numb it temporarily? I know you've discouraged people from doing that in the past but if this is how it has to be then I don't think I should have to experience all that pain.

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September
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So, the person you was a nurse at your university health center? Not someone who is a gynecologist or specalizes in reproductive health?

I am sorry to hear that was such a disappointing experience. [Frown] But, I also don't think that this means that you need to resign yourself to intercourse being painful.

You still have options, and the first one is to talk to your GP about getting a referal to a gynecologist. Even if it takes a couple of weeks until you can get an appointment, I still think it will be worth it to be seen by a specialist and hear what they have to say

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Redskies
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BlueDahlia, my understanding was that the person you saw Was your GP - or did I get that wrong?

Don't do anything that causes you pain or makes you bleed.

What the doctor said sounds a bit odd to me. Any time a doctor advises something that sounds a bit odd, or it seems like they didn't understand the thing we were asking them about, the right thing to do is to get a second opinion.

I'm expecting that you have a named GP, as that's how people get access to most healthcare. If that wasn't who you already saw, definitely seeing your GP is a good idea! If it was who you saw: is your GP part of a practice with other GPs? If so, you can see any of the other GPs. For deciding who to see, if you know people and can ask around about who's good for gynaecological/"women's health" issues in your practice, that could give you some tips. You might also ask a receptionist if any of the doctors have a particular interest in gynaecology - you may or may not get an answer, but it can't hurt to ask.

If your GP isn't part of a group practice, are you under 25? If so, the next thing I'd suggest is to have a look at Brook: http://www.brook.org.uk/index.php/find-a-centre I'm not sure whether or not they'll be able to help you with what you need, but maybe they can, and I reckon they'd be good people to ask for advice about how to get good healthcare for this.

(Side-note for anyone not used to the UK health system: there are massive up-sides to universal healthcare, but waiting a couple of weeks to see a specialist for non-emergencies would be Really Fast in most areas of medicine [Smile] )

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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BlueDahlia67
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Sorry, it's a bit confusing for m because I'm an American studying abroad in the UK, so I'm registered with a local practice but when I called to set up an appointment regarding sexual health they directed me to a nurse. I suspect their idea of 'sexual health advice' is STI testing and the like, which makes sense, but even though this is related to sex it's beyond the usual issues, I guess. I can make an appointment with a GP and see how soon I can get in - it's spring break so I think it's not as busy as it usually is - and then take it from there.
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Redskies
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Ah, ok. Which service to go to for different sexual health needs can be a bit confusing! I think your guess about what was what there is probably right (except that most STI testing is also often not done in GP practices, so you'd think they'd check what you needed...). I'd try seeing a doctor and hope that that moves you forward.

I am still a little baffled that the nurse was as unhelpful as she was. Perhaps gynaecology is not her area of expertise?! Here's hoping that whichever doctor you see is more helpful.

Tip: don't start the appointment with the doctor by requesting or mentioning a referral to a gynaecologist. Just start by describing the issue you have, and let the doctor respond. It's fine for you to ask if a referral is needed when the doctor is deciding or discussing with you what to do. It's also fine to directly ask for a referral any time that a GP doesn't seem to be identifying an issue or giving you anything (including advice) that seems remotely helpful.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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BlueDahlia67
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Thank you so much. I would look into seeing what I can do under my American insurance plan, but I think I'd need to pay up front and get reimbursed, which I'm not really in a position to do. I'll email my doctor at home to see if there's anything she can add. But seriously though. I never thought the hardest part of losing my virginity would be the process of actually having intercourse.
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Redskies
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You're very welcome [Smile]

I don't see a need to go for private healthcare yet, not if it would be financially tricky for you. The NHS should give you what you need, just maybe a little slower than private providers would. As with anything in the world, occasionally we need to ask a couple of different people before we find one who's able to point us in the direction we need. Of course, there'd be no harm in finding out how your insurance plan would work for you.

Bodies are sometimes perplexing and annoying. It happens! While you're waiting for some medical input on this, I think that the kinds of viewpoints in Disability Dharma: What Including & Learning From Disability Can Teach (Everyone) About Sex might help you out with thinking about it and adapting your sex life. Too, remembering that vagina-penis intercourse is only one way of thinking about virginity, and that virginity is really whatever we think it is: Magical Cups & Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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BlueDahlia67
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Hi,

I figured I'd keep this on the same thread, but I've been to see a doctor and she said there's nothing apparent that should be preventing me from having intercourse - I don't have vaginismus, and while I do have a septate hymen she said the septate part is far enough to the side (it doesn't run straight down the middle) that she could see why it's a problem with tampons but it shouldn't be preventing a penis from entering. So I'm at a loss. I've gone through the checklist in the painful intercourse article and none of the items on the list apply to me. I will see a gynecologist but unfortunately I won't be able to until I get back to the States (because the doctor did recommend getting the septate part removed) so I'm stuck this way in this relationship. And it sucks because when I get aroused, it's like my vagina is craving something in it, so why won't it do what I want it to do, and frankly, what it wants to do too?

I guess besides that, is there anything else we can do besides oral that I might not have thought of? It's not that I don't like giving blowjobs, I just hate feeling like that's the best thing I can do for him, especially when I possess an organ that is theoretically designed to work with a penis.

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Heather
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I'm personally not a fan of framing any of this like you did in your last paragraph. I don't think it really helps when you are feeling like this, but I also think there are about a million problematic things with presenting the vagina as being "designed" to be with a penis, and that's even setting aside the sexism and heterosexism that can obviously be part of that. My own feelings aside, I just think maybe leaving that way of thinking at the door is more likely to serve you here than carrying it around.

Same goes, I'd say, for "ranking" sexual activities, like presenting oral sex as the "best" you can do if you can't engage in intercourse. I'd suggest, instead, thinking of various sexual activities all as options which have the potentially to be universally awesome, not-awesome, or neutral for everyone, with our own personal preferences and varied experiences with them being the only way to really say what is or isn't best for us, if you follow me.

There are more ways for people to be sexual together than we will likely ever be able to list. Intercourse is but one of them, and sex that involves genitals is also only one way of being sexual together. So, yes, by all means, being sexual with a partner offers everyone WAY more options than just intercourse or oral-genital sex. [Smile]

If you would like to troubleshoot some more here around the vaginal entry you want, especially now that we know this is not a health issue, I'd be happy to do that with you.

For instance, one of the first things I'd ask since entry with your own fingers works is how it works with his fingers: is that okay, too, or no? It would also be helpful to me to know how more than just this one try at intercourse went: or was this the only try?

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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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BlueDahlia67
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Okay, I think I'm doing a terrible job at articulating how I feel right now. I'm really upset, but I feel like a lot of people I've talked to IRL think I'm more upset than I should be, so that's probably why this doesn't make any sense.

I don't think that intercourse is inherently the best kind of sex. I think the best kind of sex is whatever you think is the best kind of sex. I want to have intercourse because I want to have intercourse, not because I think it's better or because I think I have to. And it doesn't help that I can only see this guy for another month before I leave the UK and I may never see him again so I'm limited in the number of sexual encounters I'll have with him. And then after that I have no idea when I'll find a sexual partner again. Hell, it took me 20 years to find one. I know a lot of women don't particularly enjoy intercourse, but I'd like to be able to make that judgment for myself, at least. It feels like I was about to try this cool new food that tasted really good and then I had an allergic reaction and now I can't have it.

That really wasn't what I meant when I said vaginas are "designed" for intercourse. I mean, they're also "designed" for giving birth in that, before medical advances, that's how you'd have a baby, and you obviously don't have to use it for that if you don't want to... but if you did want to and you really wanted to give birth vaginally, as some do, and you couldn't, you'd be upset. I want to use my vagina for something I want it to do, and what, according to my doctor, it should have no medical difficulty doing. I never meant to make blanket statements about how everyone with vaginas should be using them, I was just referring to how I want to use mine. I don't really know how to talk about this because none of my friends or siblings had this problem, so they don't really know what to say.

Anyway, I've tried three times to have intercourse. The first time it hurt a lot and I bled quite a bit, despite having been in a constant state of extreme arousal for about three hours before trying. He also fingered me and went down on me before trying and I was wetter than I've ever been in my life, so I'm not sure how much more aroused I can get. The second time, it wasn't an intense pain so much as it felt like there was a ring around the entrance to my vagina that just wasn't quite big enough for a penis, and I didn't bleed at all. The third time was more like the first, but out of fairness I think we may have tried too early and I may not have been aroused enough that time. We've tried one or two fingers, but it's always been in the context of manual sex so it hasn't been the main focus of the activity. It feels really good though. I can suggest more focus on that next time though.

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Heather
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You know, I figure whenever we feel a way, there is no how-much-or-how-little-is-the-right-amount. We feel how we feel, and it's happening, so whatever it is must be what's right.

I have some thoughts about the place your head is in in terms of scarcity -- in this case, that it is now or never with this guy -- but I can't tell if you meant by talking about ways of thinking is what got you upset or not. Same goes with some thoughts on what body parts "should" do. So, I'll only talk about that stuff if you ask me to and let me know it's okay with you.

So, am I getting it right that when he uses his fingers, it's all awesome, and this entry issue is JUST with intercourse?

And also that when you experience pain, it is only at the vaginal opening, or centered there? If so, different angles, using more lube, trying non-latex condoms, seeing how it feels if he tries entry way faster or slower, seeing how it feels after orgasm...none of these things had any impact?

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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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