Painful penetration


I am a 23 year old young lady. I have a secret I’m keeping to myself. I’ve only asked 2 people for help and nothing has come out of it.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 went for a pap smear because I am scared Im embarrassing myself. My then doctor at varsity gave me treatment for a slight std that I could have picked up and I became fine. Now the problem is really the sexual intercourse. Why cant I be free and experience pleasure like other women whereas I cant even open up for a men to enjoy me likewise with him.My mom doesn’t know about this , its something I can never share even with my friends or female family members.

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Dr Eve answers:


Painful penetration happens to about 33% of women. Stop and think about this. Its a lot of women who are experiencing painful penetration. And of these 33% , 34% of them remain silent.. just like you. They never tell their partners. 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 , like you, feel so shameful of their pain that they stay silent.

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. Your story is more real than this construct. Penetration is 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.  At the point of penetration women automatically contract their pelvic floor muscles ,  and try push out the new object, the penis.  She has not been taught how to relax, bear down and push outwards to allow these muscles to relax and open up.

Lets stay with your shame. I want you to release it and not judge yourself or your body for not responding as you wish it would.  Pain is caused by many other factors such as past sexual abuse, STI’s, fear of pregnancy and parents who raised girls to be afraid of sex. Shame increases your fear and fear drives your pain. Be compassionate and kind to yourself.

Seek out a sexual medicine health care provider  who will refer you to a team which includes a pelvic floor therapist . I suggest you get yourself a silicone based lube such as Astroglide Premium Glide  and if you attempt penetration now , be sure to only do so with moisturiser inserted into your vagina.

Painful penetration is very treatable so set aside your shame and take care of your sexual health .. which will bring you pleasure.

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