Aunt Vadge: I’m too scared of pain to have sex

Hey Aunt Vadge I’ve got a problem here. My boyfriend and I have tried four times to make love, but I’m scared of pain. I really want to do it and my boyfriend and I have talked about this issue. I know I’m ready to do it, but I’m just scared of feeling pain because whenever he tries to put it in, I get scared of pain then we stop. Can you please advise me on what to do?

Thanks,
Scared
Age: 18
Country/Area: South Africa

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Hi Scared,

It sounds to me like we need to put your mind at ease. First and foremost, it’s fantastic to hear that when you’re uncomfortable or scared, you stop. This is the most important part of sex – being able to communicate when things aren’t right, and then taking action on that.

The vagina is part of a set of muscles. It’s a pretty complex, beautiful thing, and needs a lot of love and attention in order to keep it happy. It sounds to me as though you’re noticing you’re anticipating pain, rather than experiencing the pain. So let’s run through some facts and some tricks that you can try.

The vagina is self-lubricating. When you’re turned on (this can be from really sexy conversations, touching, licking, kissing, stroking, looking at sexy pictures or anything that floats your boat really) your vagina will start to get wet. This is the vagina’s way of creating a smooth, oiled pathway for entry or exit (penises, fingers, toys, whatever).

This wetness stops any friction from occurring, reducing possible opportunities for pain. Sometimes, simply being turned on isn’t enough, and using things like lubricants on your boyfriend’s penis and your vagina will really help things glide in and out very easily, making it way less likely that you will incur any pain.

Second, when relaxed, the vagina opens and closes with ease. That’s how babies come out, and it’s how penises or fingers go in and out without issue. Your vagina is part of a collection of pelvic muscles, and when relaxed, is very malleable. The main thing to do when beginning sex is to make sure you’re really relaxed. Start with things that you know you really enjoy. Maybe kissing, licking, oral sex or fingering. These are great pathways to use when working your way up to sex. If you’re enjoying these activities with your partner, try using a lot of lubrication on the penis and the vagina and try just dipping the tip of the penis in at the entrance of the vagina. You can very slowly dip the penis in inch by inch, removing it if it becomes uncomfortable.

Things to remember: sex is a slow process. You want to be relaxed, turned on and wet. These three things will significantly reduce the chance of feeling pain. No amount of lube is too much lube. Don’t be afraid to create a slip and slide down there. The more lube, the easier the penis will glide in and out. Don’t be afraid to pause with the penis a little bit inside you. It might take some time for your vagina to get used to having something inside it – it’s new for us all at some point. Once it feels ok having that little bit inside, try inching a little bit deeper. Don’t be afraid to mix up positions as well. It might be easier you being on top, as that way you have control over how far the penis goes in, and when to take it out.

These things take time. The first time can be daunting, as most new things are. Don’t beat yourself up for it not being like the movies; they never show the lube, the tricky angles and the embarrassed giggles. Try not to get too bogged down with the fear of pain. These things are meant to be fun, and the sillier you are about the process, the more relaxed your vagina will be and the less likely it is to be painful.

Don’t worry scared, you’ll be having fun in no time!

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.