Difficulty with penetration

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discoveringme
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Difficulty with penetration

Unread post by discoveringme »

I have a difficult time with penetration in general, but I really want to experience being penetrated with a strap-on by my girlfriend. We just bought one and I used it on her the other day, and it was a lot of fun. I'll just use bullet points, since it's a bit easier to explain that way---
  • I'm fine by myself with two fingers, but moving onto an average-sized dildo, it's hard to get more than maybe three inches inside. It's the same when I tried to use a menstrual cup - I couldn't get the full length of the cup inside, even when I cut part of the stem off.
  • Sometimes when I remove my fingers after masturbating it hurts while taking them out. Additionally, when my girlfriend fingers me, it hurts sometimes. She tried to prepare me after I strapped her so that I could try, but it was a bit painful so she stopped and we used a vibrator instead.
  • My vagina naturally doesn't lubricate a ton, so I always use lube.
I'm definitely aroused by the idea (it's usually what I masturbate to with clitoral stimulation), it's just the implementation that's difficult. I'm not sure if it's just me tensing up too much, or something else. I've tried relaxing, but no luck. Do I need to just masturbate with penetration more frequently? Do breathing exercises? Use dilators? I don't know what to do.

It makes me feel... kind of broken? Even though I know no body is "wrong," I feel like so many people have no issue with penetration, like my partner, who was easily able to put in a menstrual cup/average-sized dildo.

At the same time, I also worry that my partner is feeling bad about not being able to help me enjoy this. She's so sensitive and responsive to any touch, and I'm on the other end of the spectrum, so I feel awful. I know the answer is probably just to communicate, but it's hard to start these conversations.

Any advice you have with any of these points is really appreciated!
Elise
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Re: Difficulty with penetration

Unread post by Elise »

Hi there discoveringme, sorry to hear that this situation is leading to you not feeling great about yourself at the moment. Many folks with vaginas face difficulty with things inserted in the vagina, so you are not alone, however I acknowledge that this may not make things any less frustrating at the moment.

I am going to put a few articles here from others in a similar situation, as well as some articles about talking about sex with a partner that I think you could find really useful. Once you've had a read, we'd be really happy to hear your thoughts, questions and curiosities, if you feel comfortable sharing them.
One thing that might help put your mind at ease is to go have an appointment with a gynaecologist who can make sure there isn't any reason to be concerned, and may also be able to offer you some ideas that could help you.

Also with menstrual cups specifically, there are many, many, versions because vaginas are also all very different. Would you say that the pain is more where the inserted item "stops" rather than the act of insertion itself? If that's the case, have you tried measuring the distance to your cervix before? This is different for every person, and you may find yours is on the lower side, so may need to look into a low cervix cup (or a low disk shaped one): here are instructions on how to measure your cervix. There are also silicon ring products that you can put on a strap on or dildo that will decrease the depth and act as a buffer (one is called the Ohnut).
discoveringme
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Re: Difficulty with penetration

Unread post by discoveringme »

Hi Elise! Thanks for the quick response and the insightful articles. I read through them, and I'm starting to feel a little bit more at ease.

I think that part of my issue is with communication - maybe the other day, instead of saying nothing when my partner moved for the vibrator, instead I could have asked to use lube, go slower, pause so that I could breathe, etc. I think I want to have an honest conversation about it and any frustrations I feel, even though I struggle with starting conversations like this.

With menstrual cups, I think the pain is partially present during insertion (likely from tensing), but MOSTLY happens when it stops, and then I tense up and it gets worse. I have the June cup - it seems pretty standard. I've measured the distance to my cervix and it's between low and average, but I feel the pain before the cup is fully inside. Maybe I can try with a lower one and see how it works?

Kind of related to both, I wonder if the issue with penetration is that I'm not fully aroused, or that there are mental blocks preventing me from getting there. Although when I'm pretty aroused by myself, I can't seem to get a dildo more than 2.25 inches inside.

How can I stop anticipating/fearing pain with penetration? How do I let go of this (plus any shame about this) so that I can focus on being mindful and present during sex?
Siân
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Re: Difficulty with penetration

Unread post by Siân »

Hi discoveringme!

I'm glad that the articles Elise shared have helped you feel a little more at ease. I hear your frustration, and that feeling of being "broken" but I honestly thing that with a bit of care and taking the pressure off yourself that you'll be able to have insertive sex that feels good, if that's what you want. You've made some good points, so perhaps we can go through them to explore a little more about what's going on here.

You're absolutely right that communicating with your partner as you go is going to be important as you work towards having that strap-on inserted if that's what you want to do. My suggestion would be to bring it up *outside* the moment, to take the pressure off when you're actually getting sexual together. You've made a list of suggestions here of things to ask for - great! How do you think your partner might respond if you approach her with them? You could also ask to be the one in control of insertion - even when she is the one wearing the strap-on.

You suggested that you might not be fully aroused, or that there might be mental blocks happening. Those are two of the first things I'd want to explore in your situation. Let's talk about mental blocks first. A lot of pain on insertion happens because the pelvic floor tenses up - something it sounds like you might be experiencing? This is an involuntary reaction, but the thing is that if you learn that insertion *is* painful, your body is more likely to do that protective tensing to prevent insertion...and it becomes a bit of a vicious cycle. Some things to try are lying on your back (you can be fully clothed!) and allowing your knees to relax apart, taking some time to breathe, direct your attention to your pelvic area and notice any tension. Some people find it useful to do things like visualising their vagina relaxing, or sending their attention up into their body through the vaginal canal. Notice if how you feel trying to relax and mentally "open" in that way - does anything come up for you?

The other thing is to make sure you're really turned on before trying to insert anything into your vagina, and then starting small with loads of lube. You don't have to jump straight to a strap-on or full-size dildo. A little finger, small bullet or un-intimidating toy is a good place to start! You can just put it as far as is comfortable, leave it still if you prefer and just notice how it feels - trying to stick to what feels good and comfortable. What do you think?

[A side note, sharing toys is one way that STI's can be transmitted, unless you're using condoms on them or sterilising between uses, so taking steps to limit that transmission is always wise! Happy to talk about what that looks like :)]
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