Aunt Vadge: sex really hurts – why?

Hello Aunt Vadge, 

I lost my virginity recently and suffice to say it hurt a lot, as my boyfriend is well-endowed, so it was only the tip. However after that I have tried to take the entire penis inside me but it won’t go, and I am met with the most unbearable pain.

All my friends seem to be able to do this and I am feeling left out. My partner seems understanding but I am sure he must be disappointed. 

Please help me. And yes we use lube. But the lube also burns ?

Yours,
Unbearably Pained
Age: 19
Country: Jamaica

Dear Unbearably Pained,

Sorry to hear sex has been so painful for you! There are a few things to think about here. The first is that our bodies are all built a little differently, so we can have small, medium or large vaginal canals, and guys can have many shapes and sizes of penis. Having a genital mismatch is a very unfortunate situation for a couple, but that probably isn’t what is happening here.

The second is that this is your first forays into penetrative sex, and it takes time to learn what turns you on. Being turned on is a critical component of sex for both men and women, and if your vagina is fully turned on before you try to have sex, it will not feel that good, or worse, it’ll really hurt.

So your first step is understanding how to get turned on before your boyfriend puts anything into your body. You guys should start off by learning about sex with oral sex and fingers, and maybe wait a little while before trying penetration with a penis. It is certainly something to get used to, and relax into, but you being turned on is of critical importance.

Not just ‘it feels nice’ but hot, steamy, wet turned on. This also takes a while to learn how to do, if you’re not used to masturbating and orgasming, and being penetrated. I’m not sure if you are an accomplished masturbator or not, but I recommend you start practising by yourself. You can use a dildo or vegetables tend to work quite well!

You can work on turning yourself on, and then penetrating yourself gently with something, to get used to being in charge of the depth without a big heavy guy deciding when to thrust and when to back off. Use some coconut oil as a lube for yourself. If it doesn’t work on day, try another day. Experiment. Try things out.

If you can’t insert anything yourself into your vagina, then it may pay to go and be examined – you may have a vaginal septum or other structure blocking the way. You should know about that now, rather than later, because sex will just hurt all the time if this is true. If you have successfully used tampons before, or fingered yourself without issue, then it is unlikely, but worth finding out by trying to put things into your vagina yourself. (Without your boyfriend around.)

If your lube stings, it may be because your vagina is a bit raw, and everything stings, or you’re using the wrong kind. Lube should never, ever sting.

You may like to read Sex 101 for a bit more information on having sex, and what sex should feel like, the oral sex article, and fingering basics. You and your boyfriend might do well to read them together, so everyone is on the same page.

The last point I would like to address is that sex happens for each of us on our own terms, in our own time, so please please please don’t feel like you are disappointing your boyfriend. He doesn’t want to hurt you, and I’m sure will be happy to go slow and try to turn you on other ways.

He wants to be a good lover, and that means taking your time. Having sex with someone who is in pain is not good sex! So he will want to make sure it’s good for you.

Don’t compare yourself to your friends. You don’t know what sex feels like for them – maybe they have their own problems they don’t talk about. Sex at first is weird and awkward and can be quite hilarious, so don’t feel like you have to have mastered it. It takes a lifetime to get good at sex, and every new partner is a new experience. Just being able to get a penis into your vagina is not the achievement; enjoying sex, however that happens, is.

Write anytime!

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.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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