Wed | Apr 8, 2020

What to do if your partner feels pain during sex

Published:Wednesday | January 23, 2019 | 12:25 AM

Sex sometimes hurts – especially for women. In fact, research finds that some 30 per cent of women experience some pain during vaginal intercourse and about 72 per cent experience some pain during anal intercourse.

Sex adviser Debra Herbenick, PhD, MPH, a professor and director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University Bloomington in the United States, explains why sex can be painful for women and, most important, how to bring pleasure back to the bedroom.

“For vaginal intercourse, often the reasons are aggressive thrusting or sex without a lot of warm-up or build-up – and a lack of sufficient lubrication. Most women require about 10 to 15 minutes of foreplay. A sex position such as doggy style that feels really deep and hits against the cervix or one that doesn’t fit well with your bodies can result in pain, too,” stated Herbenick.

“There are also different times of life. Two-thirds of women who are breastfeeding have significant pain during intercourse or vaginal penetration because they have lower levels of oestrogen and, therefore, less vaginal lubrication and less flexible vaginal walls in general.”

The sexpert advises that men be ‘askable’ partners, where if your partner has any questions, they can come to you and you’ll respond well. Make sure that your partner knows that you always care how sex feels and that you always want to know if something’s not right. If your partner hurts in some way, show that you’re flexible about what your sex life looks like. It doesn’t have to always be intercourse; it could be a broader sex menu.

“Unless somebody really wants rough sex – and sometimes people do – err on the side of more gentle, non-aggressive sex. If you’re going for harder sex, make sure your partner really wants it for their pleasure, too, not just because they think that it’s what you want. And make sure that you use lubricant,” Herbenick pointed out.