3 reasons sex might hurt

Unless it’s your kink, penetrative sex should
never hurt. If all you’re getting is pain when all
you want is pleasure, it’s time to make some
changes. Here are three of the most common
problems that crop up around pain in the
1. You need lube
Lubrication prepares your vagina for penetration
and protects the delicate lining of the canal from
tears and micro abrasions that can be caused by
dry friction. Not only are these painful, they also
leave you open to infection.
Also, condoms break more easily without lube.
While the vagina is a naturally lubricating organ,
there are many reasons you may not be ‘getting
wet’, including hormone levels, stress, diet,
health and medication, among many other
What you can do: Use lube. Lots of it. Water-
based lube is cheap and readily available, but
because it’s so easily absorbed into the skin it
doesn’t last for very long.
For a longer lasting solution, use a silicone-based
2. He’s knocking against your cervix
The average vaginal canal is between 7 to 10 cm
in length. But because of how its structured, it
can expand up to 200%, lengthening and pulling
up towards your uterus.
The canal ends in a sort of cul de sac at the
cervix, which is the entrance to your uterus. If
the cervix is bumped up against too hard it can
feel very uncomfortable, even painful. But it’s
important this pain shouldn’t be sharp or
What to do: This is likely to happen if you’re not
aroused enough (so your vagina doesn’t expand),
or you’re in a sex position that makes your cervix
more vulnerable to thumping. If it’s the former,
leave off penetrative sex with a penis for a bit
and try some manual or oral sex. If it’s the
latter, simply change to a position that feels
better – and don’t feel shy to ask your guy to
slow down or be gentler.
3. You’re suffering from vaginismus
This is the painful, involuntary spasm of the
vaginal canal that prevents any penetration no
matter how small the object. Even a tampon will
be too much. Why it happens is still considered
something of a mystery, but there are a wide
range of manifestations, from impossible
penetration, to intercourse with discomfort, pain
or burning – all of which result from the pelvic
I spoke to sexologist Dr Elmari Mulder Craig
about this and she says it’s not a case of
psychosexual versus physical triggers, but rather
a combination of these that make the body
anticipate pain.
What you can do: ‘It is highly treatable, but
success can only be achieved with a multi-
professional treatment approach,’ Elmari told me.
She says that a professional diagnosis, possibly
including medication, dilation training and
physiotherapy for the pelvic floor dysfunction are
all part of the healing process. ‘Don’t try to do
this by yourself. You need the support of a team
and the help of a sexologist to assist you with
the psychosexual and relationship problems.’
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