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What to do when she feels pain during intercourse

*** QUESTION ***

Hi Shiva,

My girlfriend and I have a very active sex life. But she always
winces in pain when we start intercourse. After I enter her and
have gone in & out a few times, she is ok and enjoys it. But when I
start, I have to enter her real slow, inch by inch by inch or she
cries in pain. I've tried all lubes, KY, oil based, silicon lubes
but no joy :( I do sufficient foreplay (I think), always 15-20 mins
at least, sometimes I do longer but it doesn't make a diff, she
still hurts when I get inside. I'm wondering is this normal?
How long will we have to wait for her vagina to 'stretch'
permanently so that she doesn't hurt at all. Do all girls go
through this? Am I doing something wrong?

- gd, from Sydney


Many men think that if a woman hurts during intercourse it's because she is not 'stretched' sufficiently or because his penis is too big. Not true. If a woman's vagina can stretch enough to pass a baby's head (the size of a small watermelon) at child birth, then it can easily stretch to accommodate the biggest penis.

Here are some common reasons why women feel pain during intercourse.


A man can enter the bedroom and mentally turn off whatever happened during the day. But a woman can't do it easily; even if she is lying naked next to her partner, her mind can still be dealing with all that happened during the day or run through a stream of to-do lists.

For example, if there are unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink, it may affect her sexual responsiveness in the bedroom. As I tell the men in my seminars, doing the dishes is sometimes better foreplay than a 12-course candle-light dinner.

She may also be uneasy about sex because she is a virgin. Or because you're a new lover. Or because she is unsure of whether you'll still respect her after you've had sex. Or she may feel self-conscious or bad about her body.

Unless most of the stuff in her head is calmed down, a woman cannot allow her body to get truly aroused. If you try to penetrate before this happens, it can affect her erotic enjoyment, she could experience pain during intercourse, have difficulty experiencing orgasm, or can't at all.

Assure her that you will not penetrate until she is really ready.
Let her know that you find her body beautiful, and that you enjoy giving her pleasure.


Many men expect their women to be ready for intercourse after caressing just her breasts, lips and genitals. Unlike men, women take much longer to feel aroused enough to enjoy intercourse. Slow down. Intercourse can wait. Caress, kiss and lick ALL parts of her body, every square inch of her. Hug and massage her, suck her toes, play with her hair, roll around, kiss her back. Be sexually playful, let her take her own time to relax into the sensations. Assure her that you will not enter her until she invites you in with a verbal or non-verbal signal (like tugging your right ear, for instance).


Even when fully aroused and lubricated, women sometimes find it painful when the penis is thrust in too fast or too deep. Instead, enter slowly. Try this, tease her a little before entering, rub the head of your penis on her vaginal lips. Or push your penis in a little then withdraw it then push it in again, make her wonder "when is he going to get inside me??!".
Build up her anticipation until she is virtually demanding that you thrust in all the way.

Positions like doggy-style allow much deeper penetration which could have your penis banging against her cervix or bladder. Such positions are more enjoyable if you stay still and ask her to back-up onto your penis; this way she is in control of the depth and intensity of the penetration. This is also a good way to let you know how deep you can go without causing pain.



Dry-penetration is one of the most common causes of pain during intercourse for women. But before you pass the buck on your partner, remember, many perfectly normal women don't produce much lubrication. A skilled lover will take the responsibility to fix this. Cunnilingus (oral sex) is one way to increase her natural juices. Or you could use a store-bought lubricant like KY-jelly; apply it on her vulva and on your penis, and after a while, feel free to add some more. Use a few drops of water to bring alive dried lubricant, if needed. Sex experts recommend that even if a woman has sufficient natural lubrication, it always helps to add additional lubricant like KY-jelly during sex. The wetter she is, the better!

KY-Jelly is available in most good chemists stores.
No need to feel shy while ordering it, because it is used for
many other medical purposes, not just sexual.



If there is hurt in your relationship, the sex may hurt too. Unlike men who tend to separate their world into different
compartments, a woman treats all aspects of her world as inter-related. Unresolved conflict OUTSIDE the bedroom, can affect her sexual responsiveness INSIDE. Get that conflict resolved. See a counselor or therapist if necessary.


Sexually transmitted infections like Genital warts, Chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease may cause pain during intercourse. So also can other vaginal infections like yeast or bacterial infections. If pain persists despite increased 'whole-body' lovemaking and lubrication, she should consult a gynaecologist and ask to be examined for these infections.


If she has been abused as a child, she can feel pain during sexual intercourse, even years later. Consulting a counselor or sex therapist can help in this case.


Vaginismus is an involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles causing them to clamp down and close the vagina. It happens without her control. In mild cases, intercourse is possible but painful for the woman. In extreme cases insertion is impossible. The cause of vaginismus is still not clear. It usually happens when the woman is nervous. Women who feel pain during intercourse or are anxious about sex, unknowingly tighten their vaginal muscles causing vaginismus. But there are women with vaginismus who have no history of pain during intercourse; why it happens with them is still a mystery.

Vaginismus is often relieved when her partner engages in 'whole body' foreplay, and assures her that he will not enter her until she invites him to. Cunnilingus (oral sex) also goes a long way in helping a woman overcome vaginismus. It also helps if intercourse is performed in the woman-on-top position. This allows her to be in control of the depth and intensity of penetration, thus reducing her anxiety. If vaginismus persists, excellent treatments are available, usually provided by a combined physician-sex therapist team.


Pain during sex is sometimes relieved when you have sex with the female on top. The position puts the woman in control. She can decide when to take the penis in, how deep to take it in, the speed of thrusting, the frequency of thrusting and the angle of penetration. A woman in control is more RELAXED and And as you know, a relaxed woman is more sexual than a stressed woman. For an animated demo of the female-on-top sex position, please click here.





In male fantasy, a woman jums into bed and has earth-shattering sex with no complaints. But in reality, sex is complicated for many women. And a competent lover helps his partner overcome her sexual baggage.

The thing I recommend to all men : Before you penetrate her, help her experience 2-3 orgasms using manual (fingers) play and oral sex. That relaxes her pelvic floor muscles, she enjoys intercourse more, and has a greater chance of climaxing through intercourse.


To send me a Question, Comment or Topic suggestion, please visit this page

Until next time.


A step-by-step guide to whole-body lovemaking

WHAT WOMEN REALLY WANT: The 18 'hot' spots on a woman's body and how to arouse each one of them. Plus bonus sections.









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