Why sex is painful for 1 out of 10 of you

painful sex

I invite you to choose  the scenario that  best resembles your own first  sexual penetrative experience.

Scenario one:  Smiling beautiful women. Sweat and odour free. Clean white sheets. You gasp with  surprise, then pleasure , accompanied by expressions of love, as his erect penis smoothly slips into your virginal vagina. You simultaneously orgasm and fall asleep like two contented bugs in a rug.

Scenario two:  Back of a car (club/bathroom/), unprepared and unexpected plus sexually uneducated. Silence as you move from lovely kissing and even petting to breaking promise, into penetration. Sharp pain, bleeding, “stop” you want to scream but hold back as you know first time sex is supposed to be painful. You bite your tongue and wait for it to be over. Orgasm never happens.  You burn when you go pee. This becomes your sexual story: its painful and I don’t want it.

Im betting you have inherited this curse that afflicts women – and men – the belief that penetration is easy , kind of hurts the first time , then it gets easier and orgasms just happen.The truth is that first few   penetrations are painful as most women have no idea what their genitals look like, where their vagina actually is and because a new muscle is now being asked to open up and begin working.

Painful penetration happens to about 33% of women. That’s one third of women . These results are based on  a  2010  largest nationally representative study of sex in America.  Debby Herbenick, a researcher at Indiana University, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, and a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, team surveyed 6,000 men and women, ages 14-94, got this information when she  asked them about their sexual behavior.  In 2013 she repeated the study and found the same 30% of pain reported by women.

The national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles, 2016,  sampling 7,000 sexually active women aged 16 to 74, was carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), University College London and NatCen Social Research.  They found sex is painful for 1 out of 10 women. Women in their late 50s and early 60s are most likely to be affected, followed by women aged 16-24. Surprised? Keep reading why this situation exists specifically for these age groups.

Of these 33%, 34% of them remain silent. They never tell their partners. And as disturbingly, nor  their health care providers.  Their partners are shocked when they discover the truth. Women endure the terrible pain because they think this is how penetrative sex is supposed to feel. Or ,  perhaps like you, feel so shameful of their pain, they  don’t want to spoil the mood or fear  hurting her male lovers ego,  that she stays silent.

” I am a 23 year old young lady. I have a secret I’m keeping to myself. I started having sexual intercourse at 20 and ever-since then I am scared to sleep with a man because of my experience. I struggled back then with pain during intercourse and all of a sudden I was clogging in fear of this pain. As a result my then boyfriend was frustrated with me because I simply wouldn’t open up.My body does react to intimacy its just now I fear having relationships with men because of this problem. I know its not easy to talk about let alone share with a man.As a result I ask what can be done to help me because I have never even been for a pap smear because I am scared Im embarrassing myself.  Why cant I be free and experience pleasure like other women whereas I cant even open up for a man to enjoy me ?My mom doesn’t know about this , its something I can never share even with my friends or female family members.”

Its time to move women, both menopausal as well as young and healthy ,  out of this sexual ignorance and  shame and into enlightenment.


Pelvic pain in women is an “umbrella term” that includes a range of pain in various areas, including the external genitals, vaginal muscles, pelvic muscles, tailbone or coccyx, and bladder, among others. In the DSM5 the name changed to genitopelvic pain/penetration disorder as a recognition that this pain  affects your entire genito urinary area. Re read scenario 2



Ask yourself :

How long has  the pain lasted

Where in your body is it located

Did you tell your  partner

What did you do in response to the pain

Was your pain due to vaginal or anal penetration


Reasons for painful sex are complex and varied. The most common reasons include:

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections , such as chlamydia and herpes
  • Thrush
  • Endometriosis (which causes pelvic  inflammation )
  • Previous traumatic sexual experiences
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of lubrication

In the recently released study the strongest link was found between painful sex and vaginal dryness. Which easily explains why women over 50 and surgically  menopausal women would experience penetrative pain. Hormonal changes cause the vagina to shrink, shorten because there is no lovely oestrogen to maintain the inner lining of the vagina.  Any object inserted into the vagina , will meet a dried out vaginal wall without its usual protection.

But women age 16-24? They are not sufficiently aroused. Re read scenario 2.  When you are pinned down,  consensually , and sexually ignorant,  its pretty impossible to guide a partner to your sexual satisfaction. And even if you know what arouses you, the courage and confidence it takes to express your needs may feel impossible.  You grit your teeth and endure the pain. However over time you will feel dissatisfied and unmotivated to want sexual play. Aah , this is where sex toys and cybersex become useful outlets and solutions to painful sex.

dr eve lube


  • Consult a gynaecologist about any  sexual pain or discomfort
  • Until you find your sexual voice , make lubricant your bed partner. Apply as the play begins to avoid embarrassment
  • Moisturizers can be inserted intra vaginally to ensure a lubricated vagina.
  • Get therapy to work out relationship issues that may be causing your sexual pain


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