Aunt Vadge: ripped my vagina during sex – what now?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

I recently had sex with my boyfriend. It felt like my vagina ripped open because I wasn’t wet enough. Well I had sex with him again before it was healed and now it’s really bad. It burns so bad when I pee, there are scab like things between my vagina and butthole, it’s itchy and very red and swollen. Please help!

Yours,
Ripped

___________

Hi there Ripped,

You sound like you have really hurt yourself there. You have either damaged yourself pretty badly, or in fact the scabs may be indicative of an infection. Scabs on your perineum would be unusual with sexual damage, and sound more like a sexually transmitted infection (possibly herpes).

Minor cuts and tears can be encouraged to heal well with a moisturising vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream.

What to do

Make an appointment at your local sexual health clinic or doctor to get swabs taken. If it’s an STI, you will soon know and can be treated accordingly. Even herpes can now be managed very well with anti-viral drugs, keeping outbreaks to a minimum. It may be something else, however, so it’s important to know. Don’t freak out just yet.

No matter what, leave your vagina alone completely. Wash only with warm water, and be very, very gentle. Apply a small amount of vegetable-based oil to keep the skin lubricated – as you move around, the small stitches that mend your skin need to stay put, and even just walking around with underwear on can make this process take a lot longer. You don’t need much – just enough to keep the skin supple and flexible.

Don’t have any sex, don’t touch your vagina at all, and don’t let your boyfriend anywhere near it until you know what’s going on. When you wipe yourself after a bowel motion, be very gentle – you sound like you have some cuts/sores on your perineum, which is the small area between your anus and your vagina. Don’t pull on the skin too much.

It is really important never to have sex while you are sore or a bit broken down, or if you suspect you may have an STI. It only causes more damage, and takes longer to heal, and you risk spreading infection. Your vaginal area is actually pretty delicate, so having sex after you were already hurt is a recipe for this type of pain and suffering.

If it’s sexual damage…

You will be ok, but you just need to let it heal quietly, and properly, before attempting to have sex again. Once you are ready to do it again, you really need to sit down with your boyfriend and talk about how you are going to ensure that this never happens again.

You need to be clear that you will always, always, always tell him what it feels like – does it feel good? are you feeling any pain? does it feel uncomfortable? are you about to orgasm? He doesn’t know and he can only feel his own body, so expecting him to know when he is hurting you isn’t fair – you must speak up.

He would never want to be causing you pain, since presumably he likes you. Sex should always feel good, and if it doesn’t, you are doing something wrong.

There are a lot of ways to do speak up about how it feels: when it feels good, you can moan, and say “that feels really good!” (even if it feels a bit dorky at first – just do it!) or tell him you like it. If you mostly like it, but he is doing something that feels a bit weird or uncomfortable, suggest he keep doing the thing you like, so “that thing you are doing with your tongue feels good”.

Redirecting works wonders, and nobody has to feel bad about what feels like putting someone down on their sexual performance. Teaching someone about your body and learning about theirs is a really enjoyable process, so don’t skimp on the talking about how everything feels. Once you stop feeling uncomfortable about talking, it really opens up great sex because the things that hurt or don’t work stop happening.

You need to be really wet and turned on before anything goes inside your vagina. This is a very strict requirement of a vagina, since putting big things like penises, and even fingers, into vaginas can cause significant damage, as vaginas are designed to be slightly swollen with blood and a lubricated (natural moisture, saliva, lube) so damage doesn’t occur and sexual arousal can happen fully.

Never, ever, ever put anything into a vagina without it being lubricated and turned on and ready – that means, it feels good. Try lots of different ways of touching each other and yourself, and don’t be shy about asking for something else. You and your boyfriend are learning how to be great lovers together, so make sure you be the student and the teacher, and teach him to get feedback from you, and vice versa.

You don’t want to hurt his body either, so make sure you are both talking your way through sex. It matters. Everyone is different, and each sexual occasion is different – we don’t feel the same all the time.

Your vagina will heal, but you need to ensure this never happens again. It is too painful and awful to repeat!

We have some guides on sex and oral sex and fingering, so if you feel comfortable, read them together or send your boyfriend the links. They are fun to read and learn about and help to bring up awkward topics without having to bring them up immediately.

Good luck!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.